Beige Book: ‘Modest’ Economic Growth, Better For Most CRE

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor The latest Beige Book, released on Wednesday by the Federal Reserve and formally called “Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District,” came in a bit tepid. At least, the report’s favorite words describing the pace of overall U.S. economic growth remained “modest”

The latest Beige Book, released on Wednesday by the Federal Reserve and formally called “Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District,” came in a bit tepid. At least, the report’s favorite words describing the pace of overall U.S. economic growth remained “modest” and “moderate.”

The report is published eight times per year, with each Federal Reserve Bank gathering anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its district—larger than the city for which it’s named—through reports from bank and branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources. As the book puts it: “Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicate that economic activity continued to expand at a modest pace across most regions from mid-May through the end of June.”

Commercial real estate sales and leasing activity remained stable or improved in almost all districts, the book said. Absorption rate and rent increases were documented in Atlanta and Kansas City, while improving industrial real estate markets were noted in New York, Richmond and Dallas. Office market conditions, however, were mixed among reporting districts.

The Beige Book also noted that commercial construction activity grew modestly from the previous reporting period. Construction activity picked up in New York, and Cleveland continued to report project pipelines are strong. Reports on multifamily construction were mixed in Richmond, Atlanta and Dallas. New York noted that multifamily construction has tapered off through most of the district.