Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fed's Beige Book: Economic activity increased at "modest to moderate" pace

by Bill McBride on 2/29/2012 02:00:00 PM

Fed's Beige Book:

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest that overall economic activity continued to increase at a modest to moderate pace in January and early February. Activity expanded at a moderate pace in the Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts. St. Louis noted a modest pace of growth and Minneapolis characterized the pace of growth as firm. Economic activity rose at a somewhat faster pace in the Philadelphia and Atlanta Districts, while the New York District noted a somewhat slower pace of expansion. The Boston and Richmond Districts, in turn, noted that economic activity expanded or improved in most sectors.
...
Reports of consumer spending were generally positive except for sales of seasonal items, and the sales outlook for the near future was mostly optimistic.
And on real estate:
Residential real estate activity increased modestly in most Districts. Boston, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Dallas reported growth in home sales, while New York noted steady to slightly softer home sales. Philadelphia reported strong residential real estate activity. In contrast, home sales declined in St. Louis and San Francisco noted that home demand persisted at low levels. Contacts' outlooks on home sales growth were mostly optimistic.
...
Commercial real estate markets displayed positive results in some Districts, as leasing showed overall improvement. Minneapolis, Richmond, Chicago, and Dallas noted increased leasing. Boston, however, reported mostly unchanged leasing fundamentals with some modest improvement since the previous report.
This was based on data gathered on or before February 17th. Mostly sluggish growth, but perhaps the most "positive" comments on residential real estate a long long time.

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