June 13, 2012 (Chris Moore)
Overall economic growth continued to expand in all Federal Reserve Districts according to the latest edition of the Beige Book released by the Federal Reserve covering economic activity from the beginning of April through the end of May.
The New York, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts described activity as expanding at a moderate pace while St. Louis, Richmond and Minneapolis described activity in their Districts as modest. Boston reported that economic activity in its District was steady while Philadelphia reported that the rate of expansion in its District had slowed slightly.
Most Districts reported that manufacturing continued to expand with consumer spending reported to be unchanged or up slightly. Other industries that reported growth were new vehicle sales, travel and tourism, information technology, and non-financial services.
Several Districts, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and San Francisco reported new home construction had increased during the latest reporting period, while in Philadelphia home construction eased and in Kansas City housing starts were down.
Multifamily construction remained a bright spot as Boston, Atlanta, and Chicago reported increased activity and Minneapolis reported that numerous projects were in the pipeline.
Most areas reported that home sales were above last year’ levels but that the pace of sales was still below historic standards but some Districts, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Dallas, reported that home sales were exceeding expectations.
Home sales to investors in Richmond and Atlanta, which covers Florida, were reported to be strong.
Home prices remained weak or flat in most Districts despite reports of shrinking housing inventories.
Overall loan demand was reported as steady or slightly improving with New York and Cleveland reporting stronger mortgage activity, and the Richmond District reported that refinancing dominated an improving demand for mortgages.
Most Districts reported that credit quality remained solid as loan quality improved while loan delinquencies continued to decline.
Tags: Federal Reserve, Beige Book, housing market, real estate markets, single family homes, multifamily market, construction activity