Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Beige Book on Housing

by Calculated Risk on 9/06/2006 03:45:00 PM

The Federal Reserve has released the Beige Book. Here are a few excerpts on housing:

Housing markets and home construction activity weakened throughout the nation, but commercial real estate and construction strengthened in most Districts. Virtually all Districts reported declines in home sales, as well as in residential construction activity. Moreover, most Districts indicated substantial increases in the inventory of unsold homes; Kansas City attributed some of this increase to "sizable numbers of foreclosures" in some areas. In general, residential real estate contacts expected that housing markets would remain weak, if not weaken further, in the months ahead; such concerns were specified in the reports from Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Kansas City.

Relatively flat or declining home prices were noted in the New York, Richmond, and Kansas City Districts, and decelerating prices were reported in the Philadelphia and San Francisco Districts. The high end of the market was described as particularly weak in the Richmond, Chicago, and Kansas City Districts, as well as parts of the Minneapolis District. In contrast, the high ends of both the Dallas District's housing market and the New York District's co-op and condo market were reported to have experienced less softening than the more moderately priced segments. One area of relative strength in residential real estate has been the apartment market--of the three Districts reporting on this, New York and Chicago both indicate fairly strong demand for apartment rentals since the last report, while Dallas noted continued strong demand for condominiums.
Declines in home sales, increases in inventory, rising foreclosures, flat or declining prices ... a bleak picture for housing at the end of August.