Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fed's Beige Book: Economic Activity Expanded at "modest" or "moderate" Pace

by Bill McBride on 1/14/2015 02:05:00 PM

Fed's Beige Book "Prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and based on information collected on or before January 5, 2015. "

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest that national economic activity continued to expand during the reporting period of mid-November through late December, with most Districts reporting a "modest" or "moderate" pace of growth. In contrast, the Kansas City District reported only slight growth in December. However, most of their contacts, along with those of several other Districts, expect somewhat faster growth over the coming months. ...
And on real estate:
Single-family residential real estate sales and construction were largely flat on balance across the Districts. Sales declined somewhat on a year-over-year basis in the Boston, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Dallas Districts. In the Philadelphia District, year-over-year existing home sales finished lower in November, but pending December sales in some areas were up notably over December 2013. However, builders of new homes in the Philadelphia District reported weak traffic for prospective buyers and fewer contract signings. San Francisco reported that overall home sales picked up in December. Richmond reported a modest increase in housing market activity. Home prices increased modestly, on balance, in the Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, and Dallas Districts. The Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City Districts all reported slightly slower single-family residential construction activity. However, the pace of single-family home construction increased in some areas of the San Francisco District.

Commercial real estate activity expanded in most Districts. The Philadelphia District reported a modest pace of growth for commercial real estate leasing activity, and Boston reported improving conditions in commercial real estate markets overall. Commercial real estate activity in the Chicago and Kansas City Districts expanded at a moderate pace. The Dallas District noted that office leasing activity remained strong, but one contact noted a slight pullback in demand from oil and gas firms. Demand for apartments in the Dallas District also remained strong. New York City's co-op and condo market showed continued strength in the final quarter of 2014; apartment sales volume was down from the exceptionally high levels of the prior year but still fairly brisk, while selling prices were up moderately. Commercial construction activity increased in most Districts. Activity grew modestly in the Philadelphia District and a bit faster in the Atlanta and Chicago Districts. Atlanta cited the multifamily residential segment as a source of growth, while Chicago credited demand for industrial and office buildings. Commercial builders in the Cleveland District reported a moderate to robust increase for projects in the pipeline. Dallas reported that overall commercial construction was strong. San Francisco reported that multifamily residential construction was strong in many areas of that District and that retail, office, industrial, or infrastructure projects were widespread across that District.
emphasis added
Residential real estate was "flat", however commercial was picking up.