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Beige Book shows modest residential real estate growth

All 12 Federal Reserve districts noticed modest economic growth in January and early February as the residential real estate market noted a modest uptick in activity.

The central bank's Beige Book summarizes economic data gathered from the dozen Fed districts nationwide. 

In the latest report, improvements were noted in both the real estate and banking and lending sectors.

Real estate activity grew at a modest pace across the country, with districts in Boston, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Kansas City and Dallas reporting growth in home sales, according to the report. 

Home sales in the New York area, meanwhile, were steady to soft.

Philadelphia reported strong residential real estate activity, while home sales fell in St. Louis and San Francisco. Overall, industry contacts were "mostly optimistic" about home sales growth, the Fed said.

Commercial real estate leasing activity improved in Minneapolis, Richmond, Chicago and Dallas, while Boston's leasing activity remained unchanged mostly with some improvement.

A few districts noted some improvements in nonresidential construction, as for conditions in banking and finance increased in New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco.

"Lending was little changed in St. Louis and Kansas City, while loan demand was described as weak in Richmond and soft at regional banks in Atlanta," according to the indications gathered by the Fed. "Demand for business credit was flat to slightly higher in Cleveland and increased slightly in Richmond, San Francisco, and at some large banks in Atlanta. Dallas reported strength in middle-market and large corporate lending, and Chicago noted that business loan growth continued at a moderate pace"

Still, on the consumer side, New York and San Francisco saw little change in loan demand.

The Fed noted tighter underwriting remains a burden with restrictive lending standards reported in San Francisco and Richmond. In addition, tighter lender standards were deployed for commercial borrowers in  New York even as credit conditions improved somewhat. Mortgage delinquencies in New York remained steady even though delinquencies fell in other loan categories. 


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