In Depth Analysis: CalculatedRisk Newsletter on Real Estate (Ad Free) Read it here.

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Fed's Beige Book: "Leasing rates for multifamily were starting to decrease"

by Calculated Risk on 3/08/2023 02:16:00 PM

Fed's Beige Book "This report was prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York based on information collected on or before February 27, 2023. "

Overall economic activity increased slightly in early 2023. Six Districts reported little or no change in economic activity since the last report, while six indicated economic activity expanded at a modest pace. On balance, supply chain disruptions continued to ease. Consumer spending generally held steady, though a few Districts reported moderate to strong growth in retail sales during what is typically a slow period. Auto sales were little changed, on balance, though inventory levels continued to improve. Several Districts indicated that high inflation and higher interest rates continued to reduce consumers' discretionary income and purchasing power, and some concern was expressed about rising credit card debt. Travel and tourism activity remained fairly strong in most Districts. Manufacturing activity stabilized following a period of contraction. While housing markets remained subdued, restrained by exceptionally low inventory, an unexpected uptick in activity beyond the seasonal norm was seen in some Districts along the eastern seaboard. Commercial real estate activity was steady, with some growth in the industrial market but ongoing weakness in the office market. Demand for nonfinancial services was steady overall but picked up in a few Districts. On balance, loan demand declined, credit standards tightened, and delinquency rates edged up. Energy activity was flat to down slightly, and agricultural conditions were mixed. Amid heightened uncertainty, contacts did not expect economic conditions to improve much in the months ahead.

Labor market conditions remained solid. Employment continued to increase at a modest to moderate pace in most Districts despite hiring freezes by some firms and scattered reports of layoffs. Labor availability improved slightly, though finding workers with desired skills or experience remained challenging. Several Districts indicated that a lack of available childcare continued to impede labor force participation. While labor markets generally remained tight, a few Districts noted that firms are becoming less flexible with employees and beginning to reduce remote work options. Wages generally increased at a moderate pace, though some Districts noted that wage pressures had eased somewhat. Wage increases are expected to moderate further in the coming year.
emphasis added
And some regional comments on rents:
Richmond: "Leasing rates for multifamily were starting to decrease, particularly for mid-priced units; high end apartment rents were unchanged."
Dallas: "Apartment leasing remained sluggish, and occupancy and rents were flat."