While economic growth continued to expand in the reporting period of late February and early March across the 12 Federal Reserve Districts, the data suggests that the pace of growth varied across most districts, according to the Fed’s latest Beige Book released on Wednesday.
“Most Districts said that economic growth was in the modest to moderate range and that contacts expected growth would remain in that range going forward,” the report stated. “Consumer spending increased modestly in most Districts and reports on tourism were mostly positive. Labor market conditions continued to strengthen and business spending generally expanded across most Districts.”
For the reporting period, construction and real estate activity generally expanded while contracts maintained a positive outlook for the rest of the year across Districts. Residential real estate activity generally strengthened (on balance) with the most robust growth being reported in the Districts of San Francisco, Cleveland, and Boston, while the Districts of Dallas, Kansas City, and Atlanta reported more mixed residential real estate reports.
While multi-family construction remained strong in most Districts during the reporting period, the Districts of Chicago, Cleveland, and St. Louis noted improvement in the demand for single-family home construction, according to the Fed. The San Francisco District noted improvement in the demand for single-family home construction and reported a backlog of more than six months for new single-family units, the Fed reported.
Most Fed Districts reported improved credit conditions (on net); in the Dallas District, however, contacts reported that the lending outlook remained cautious, according to the Fed. Most Districts noted growth in lending for commercial real estate; for consumer lending, the New York, Cleveland, and San Francisco Districts all reported that the demand had increased for residential mortgages. The Dallas District indicated, however, that growth in mortgage loan volumes had slowed during the reporting period, according to the Fed.
Click here to view the entire Beige Book for April 2016.