July 29, 2011 (Chris Moore)
Economic activity continued to grow, though at a much more moderate pace according to the latest edition of the Beige Book released by the Federal Reserve.
Of the Twelve Federal Reserve Districts, six districts reported economic activity had slowed or was little changed, four Districts reported a modest rate of growth, the Minneapolis District reported a temporary slowdown due to political and weather conditions, and the Dallas district reported economic activity had slowed to a moderate pace.
Real estate and housing construction activity remained weak and little changed since the last Beige Book. The rental market segment continued to strengthen as demand for multi-family housing increased
Most Districts reported flat or a continued downward drift in selling prices, with the Boston and Richmond Districts reporting that prices have been steady. The Philadelphia and Atlanta Districts reported prices to be steady or heading down slightly, while the Kansas City and New York Districts reported that prices were declining.
Home sales activity remained unchanged at low levels in almost all Districts since the last report. Activity reportedly increased slightly in the Richmond, Atlanta, and Minneapolis Districts.
Residential construction was restrained due to an increasing inventory of unsold homes in the Boston, New York, and Kansas City Districts. Overall residential construction activity was mixed though the Minneapolis District reported an increase.
Demand for residential mortgages (including new purchases and refinances) was mixed across all Districts, with several reporting a decrease in real estate lending and volume.
Credit conditions changed little since the previous report with the New York, Cleveland, Richmond, Chicago, and Dallas Districts reporting that credit quality was flat or somewhat improved.
Tags: Federal Reserve, Beige Book, housing market, moderate economic gains, increased hiring, real estate markets, single family homes, multifamily market, construction activity