Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fed's Beige Book: "Economic activity expanded"

by Bill McBride on 1/13/2016 02:03:00 PM

Fed's Beige Book "Prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and based on information collected on or before January 4, 2016."

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity has expanded in nine of the Districts since the previous Beige Book report and contacts in Boston were described as upbeat. Meanwhile, New York and Kansas City described economic activity in their Districts as essentially flat. Atlanta and San Francisco characterized the growth in their Districts as moderate; Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Dallas described their Districts' growth as modest. Contacts' outlooks for future growth remained mostly positive in Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, and Dallas.
And on real estate:
Residential real estate activity as measured in sales was generally positive in New York, Cleveland, Chicago, and St. Louis. Richmond experienced steady sales with pockets of strength, and Kansas City reported declines. Prices rose slightly to modestly overall in all reporting Districts, and inventories remained low in Boston, Richmond, and Minneapolis, and some parts of the New York District; however, New York City's rental vacancy rate increased. Though Boston contacts expected the market to perform well in 2016, contacts in Cleveland and Kansas City expressed concerns that higher interest rates may slow activity. Residential construction activity was described as modest or moderate in most Districts but was more subdued in New York, Atlanta, and Dallas overall. Multifamily construction continued to be strong in New York, Richmond, Minneapolis, and San Francisco and showed improvement in Chicago.

Most reporting Districts characterized nonresidential real estate activity as modest to moderate; Boston and New York indicated little change. Rental rates rose in more than half of the reporting Districts, and vacancy rates were mixed. Most Districts reported modest or moderate growth in commercial construction, and the Dallas District noted high levels of industrial construction in Dallas-Fort Worth. Contacts in the Atlanta District expect construction activity to increase slightly, while contacts in the Philadelphia, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Richmond Districts expect overall commercial real estate activity to continue to strengthen at least modestly.
emphasis added
Real Estate growth was modest to moderate ...