Federal ‘Beige Book’ gets rosy real estate report from boots-on-the-ground personnel

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Residential real estate revealed improvements nationwide from the late August to late September period, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest “Beige Book.”

The Fed’s book is a market-conditions rendering based, not on statistics, but on anecdotal information from Federal Reserve Bank and branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other boots-on-the-ground sources.

The report says all twelve Federal Reserve Bank Districts reported that existing home sales strengthened, in some cases substantially. Selling prices were steady or rising.

The book’s highlights include:

• Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco noted declining or tight inventories, which have put upward pressure on prices.

• Modest price increases were reported in the New York, Richmond, Chicago, and Kansas City Districts.

New York and Richmond reported relatively strong demand at the high and low ends of the market; Philadelphia and Kansas City noted relative strength for mid-range homes; Boston indicated a shift in the mix toward lower or medium priced homes.

New home construction and sales were more mixed, but still mostly improved; increased construction and/or new home sales were reported in the Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas and San Francisco Districts.

• Multi-family construction, in particular, was described as robust in the Boston, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and Dallas Districts.

• Residential rental markets continued to be characterized as strong, even in the New York and Atlanta Districts where rents increased somewhat less strongly than in recent months.

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