Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fed's Beige Book: Economic Activity Expanded "modest to moderate" pace

by Calculated Risk on 10/15/2014 02:00:00 PM

Fed's Beige Book "Prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and based on information collected before October 6, 2014."

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts generally described modest to moderate economic growth at a pace similar to that noted in the previous Beige Book. Moderate growth was reported by the Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts, while modest growth was reported by the New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, and Kansas City Districts. In the Boston District, reports from business contacts painted a mixed picture of economic conditions. In addition, several Districts noted that contacts were generally optimistic about future activity.
And on real estate:
Reports on residential construction and real estate activity were mixed. New York noted that single-family construction was sluggish in some areas, but that multifamily construction increased. Philadelphia reported only slight growth in home construction. In August, single-family construction starts in the Cleveland District reached their highest level so far this year, though the number of starts year-to-date remained slightly lower than last year. Richmond noted that residential construction across the District increased slightly for custom homes. Atlanta reported that multifamily construction continued to increase across much of the District, while Chicago indicated that both single- and multi-family construction continued to expand. Residential real estate contacts in the Atlanta District indicated that existing home sales and prices remained ahead of last year's levels and inventory levels were down from a year ago. Chicago noted that home sales were somewhat lower, and growth in home prices and residential rents slowed. San Francisco reported that sales of single-family homes were stable since the previous report.

Commercial construction and real estate activity grew in most Districts. Richmond, St. Louis, and San Francisco reported increased commercial construction, industrial construction, or both. Cleveland noted that a majority of commercial contractors saw increased construction activity relative to a year ago. Commercial contractors in the Atlanta District saw an increase in construction activity across many property types. In Minneapolis, however, commercial construction activity declined. Richmond reported that commercial real estate activity improved modestly over the past several weeks. The New York District noted that the New York City office market continued to strengthen. Atlanta noted that many commercial brokers saw growth in activity. Chicago noted that commercial real estate activity continued to expand. Kansas City indicated that commercial vacancy rates declined and absorption and sales increased. Boston noted that commercial real estate fundamentals are either holding steady or improving.
emphasis added
Residential real estate is "mixed', although nonresidential is seeing some growth.