Real estate showed impressive economic growth during February and achieved gains in nearly all 12 Federal Reserve Districts, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book released March 6. Otherwise, the report noted that economic growth for the month was modest-to-moderate.
The Beige Book noted improved housing market activity in Boston, Dallas, Kansas City, Minneapolis, San Francisco and St. Louis. Philadelphia was a mixed bag, with rising low-end home sales but falling prices and sales of high-end homes.
Overall, home inventories declined in nearly all districts to the point where realtors have started to express concern about lack of available properties and the possible effect on future sales volumes.
New home construction increased across most districts — the one exception being Kansas City. Multifamily construction also showed continued growth, but Atlanta and Cleveland reported that builders there still have difficulty getting financing.
Commercial real estate grew modestly in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Francisco and St. Louis, although Boston reported concerns about overbuilding in the apartment sector.
Loan demand across all districts remained strong and some banks reported increased competition for qualified borrowers. Residential real estate loan growth was especially strong in Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Richmond. Most of the demand was for refinancing. The New York District reported decreased loan spreads in all loan categories — especially in residential mortgages.
Read the newest Beige Book.