Fed’s Beige Book Finds Improving Economy, Slow Housing Market

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicate that the economy continued to improve, on balance, during the reporting period from early/mid-October to mid-November. Manufacturing activity continued to expand in almost all districts. Housing markets remain depressed, however with several Districts reporting further weakening during the past six weeks. Residential real estate and construction activity remained at a low level in all Districts. The Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Minneapolis Districts reported some further weakening in home sales. Boston, New York, and Richmond characterized the market as soft; while Cleveland, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco described the market as sluggish. The Chicago District reported that high inventories of unsold homes continued to be a drag on new residential construction and home prices. Residential house prices were mixed. Price declines were observed in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Kansas City; prices were flat to up in Minneapolis, and prices edged up in Boston. The Dallas District reported that home prices increased on a year-over-year basis.

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