April 14, 2011 (Chris Moore)
The Federal Reserve released the latest edition of its Beige Book which sounded pretty similar to the last report released six weeks ago. The report shows economic activity generally continued to improve while the housing market continued to be a drag on the economy.

Of the Twelve Federal Reserve Districts, most stated they had experienced moderate economic gains, with Kansas City describing their economic gains as solid, with employment showing steady improvement with increased hiring.

Real estate markets for single family homes were little changed from previous low levels and continuing to show weakness across all districts. Market activity was still declining in the St. Louis and Minneapolis Districts, while activity in the New York, Cleveland, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts remained weak. Atlanta characterized the market as mixed, with Florida brokers providing most of the signs of improvement.

The multifamily markets strengthened in several Districts, including Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, and San Francisco, both in terms of leasing and construction activity.

The report noted pockets of improvement as Philadelphia reported that agents were seeing a pickup in inquiries, showings, and traffic, although there was little increase in sales or construction. Boston noted higher activity in just the last few weeks, due in part to improved weather, and Richmond said that the market for lower-priced homes improved. Both Philadelphia and Atlanta noted that brokers expected the market to improve, and builders in the Cleveland District were more optimistic than in the past several months.

You can read the full report here.

Tags: Federal Reserve, Beige Book, housing market, moderate economic gains, increased hiring, real estate markets, single family homes, multifamily market, construction acitivity