Fed Beige Book: Mixed Signals on Real Estate

The Federal Reserve’s periodic Beige Book report, released Monday, indicates that the economy is improving, but “depressed” housing markets and employers who are reluctant to hire are holding back full recovery.

Here is a district-by-district report on real estate mentions in the most recent Beige Book report.

· Boston: Commercial real estate was reported as more “upbeat” than it was two or three months ago.
· New York: Commercial and residential real estate has held steady over the last month or two.
· Philadelphia: Real estate and home builders point to a downward sales trend with commercial real estate reporting softening trends.
· Cleveland: Construction was sluggish.
· Richmond: Residential and commercial real estate markets were soft.
· Atlanta: real estate and home builders say business remains soft.
· Chicago: Contractors were cautious.
· St. Louis: Commercial and industrial real estate markets mixed.
· Minneapolis: Commercial real estate was mixed and residential activity was down.
· Kansas City: Residential and commercial construction remained weak, but sales were up and rental vacancy rates are expected to decline.
· Dallas: Housing activity remained sluggish.
· San Francisco: Housing and commercial real estate demand remained subdued.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Jeff Bater Sparshott (12/01/2010)