Fed Beige Book: Pace of Growth is Slowing

June 9, 2011 (Chris Moore)

Economic activity continued to expand, though there were indications of slowing in the pace of growth according to the latest edition of the Beige Book released by the Federal Reserve. Of the Twelve Federal Reserve Districts, four Districts reported some economic deceleration, seven indicated that growth remained at a steady pace, and the Dallas District reported it region’s economy was accelerating.

Real estate and housing construction continued to show widespread weakness across all Districts. The only real bright spot was in the rental segment, where market conditions have strengthened.

Most Districts reported some downward drift in selling prices, with the New York and Cleveland districts reporting that prices have been steady. No district reported an increase in home prices.

Home sales activity continued at low levels, although the Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, and Kansas City Districts indicated a slight improvement. The Boston District characterized their market as stabilizing, with the New York, Cleveland, Dallas and San Francisco Districts reporting housing sales as mostly steady.

Housing sales in the Dallas District indicated that traffic was improving, while sales in the St. Louis and Minneapolis Districts are reported to be declining.

Residential construction generally remained depressed with many of the Districts reporting large inventories of distressed properties.

Demand for residential mortgages (including new purchases and refinances) increased in Cleveland but held steady in New York, Richmond, St. Louis, and Kansas City as credit standards overall eased a bit. The St. Louis District reported credit standards for home mortgage loans tightened somewhat and the Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts noted improvements in overall credit quality.

You can read the report in its entirety on the Federal Reserve’s website.

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