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Fed Beige Book: Economic activity expanded in March, housing results mixed

New York, Cleveland, and San Francisco report increased mortgage demand

The Federal Reserve released its latest Beige Book Wednesday, with Fed’s comprehensive look at the nation’s economy showing that economic activity expanded in March, while the housing results were mixed.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the Fed report showed that nearly all of the 12 Fed districts showed economic growth in March.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The latest beige book covers the period from late February through April 7. Eleven out of 12 districts said growth expanded over that period, and most said business contacts expect a similar pace of growth going forward.

Nearly all districts reported strengthening labor-market conditions, although Cleveland reported a decline in employment.

The Fed report also showed that the New York, Cleveland, and San Francisco districts all reported increased demand for residential mortgages, while Dallas indicated that growth in mortgage loan volumes had slowed.

Additionally, construction and real estate activity also expanded nationally.

“Residential real estate activity strengthened, on balance, with robust growth in San Francisco, Cleveland, and Boston, but more mixed reports from Dallas, Kansas City, and Atlanta,” the Fed said in the Beige Book.

“Several Districts credited a mild winter for stronger home sales, and the pace of home price increases picked up in a number of Districts,” the Fed continued. “Multi-family construction remained strong in most Districts. Chicago, Cleveland, and St. Louis also noted some improvement in demand for single-family home construction, and a contact in San Francisco reported backlogs of more than six months for new single-family units.”

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