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Fed to Release Economic Update

This week, the Federal Reserve will release its latest Beige Book [1], a Federal Reserve System publication about current economic conditions across the 12 Federal Reserve Districts. The Book is published eight times per year, and summarizes key economic conditions by each of the Fed districts.

According to the last Book, eight of the 12 Federal Reserve Districts reported modest to moderate growth. The majority of Districts indicated that manufacturing expanded, but that growth had slowed, particularly in the auto and energy sectors. New home construction and existing home sales were little changed, with several Districts reporting that sales were limited by rising prices and low inventory. Commercial real estate activity was also little changed on balance. Most Districts reported modest to moderate growth in activity in the nonfinancial services sector, though a few Districts noted that growth there had slowed.

According to the Book, residential real estate markets saw ongoing price increases and mixed sales results; contacts in a couple of markets cited greater “balance” as local shortages of housing inventory eased somewhat. While retailers (including an auto dealer) and manufacturers said sizable tariff increases would pose significant problems if they occurred and many respondents cited uncertainty, outlooks remained mostly positive.

Closed single-family sales were up year-over-year from November 2017 to November 2018 in Rhode Island, Boston, and Maine, and down in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Residential markets in Rhode Island and Boston became more balanced in recent months, with growing supplies of homes for sale and moderation in the pace of home price appreciation. Despite a seller’s market environment, contacts said real estate was a preferred investment choice, given the volatile U.S. stock market.

Here's what else is happening in The Week Ahead.

S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller (Nov. 26)
First American Real House Price Index (Nov. 25)
FHFA House Price Index (Nov. 26)
Census Bureau New Residential Sales Survey (Nov. 26)
NAR Pending Home Sales Index (Nov. 27)