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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FOMC Minutes: On Greece and Housing

by Calculated Risk on 5/19/2010 02:00:00 PM

From the April 27-28, 2010 FOMC meeting.

On Greece:

[P]articipants saw the escalation of fiscal strains in Greece and spreading concerns about other peripheral European countries as weighing on financial conditions and confidence in the euro area. If other European countries responded by intensifying their fiscal consolidation efforts, the result would likely be slower growth in Europe and potentially a weaker global economic recovery. Some participants expressed concern that a crisis in Greece or in some other peripheral European countries could have an adverse effect on U.S. financial markets, which could also slow the recovery in this country.
On Housing:
[T]he recovery in the housing market appeared to have stalled in recent months despite various forms of government support. Although residential real estate values seemed to be stabilizing and in some areas had reportedly moved higher, housing sales and starts had leveled off in recent months at depressed levels. Some participants saw the possibility of elevated foreclosures adding to the already very large inventory of vacant homes as posing a downside risk to home prices, thereby limiting the extent of the pickup in residential investment for a while.
The FOMC is forecasting moderate growth however they expect the unemployment rate to remain elevated for some time:
In their discussion of the economic situation and outlook, meeting participants agreed that the incoming data and information received from business contacts indicated that economic activity continued to strengthen and the labor market was beginning to improve. Although some of the recent data on economic activity had been better than anticipated, most participants saw the incoming information as broadly in line with their earlier projections for moderate growth; accordingly, their views on the economic outlook had not changed appreciably. Participants expected the economic recovery to continue, but, consistent with experience following previous financial crises, most anticipated that the pickup in output would be rather slow relative to past recoveries from deep recessions. A moderate pace of expansion, in turn, would imply only a modest improvement in the labor market this year, with the unemployment rate declining gradually.