Beige Book Uneventful, But With Some Housing/Mortgage Specifics
Excerpts from the Beige Book:
(Prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and based on information collected on or before August 20, 2012. This document summarizes comments received from business and other contacts outside the Federal Reserve and is not a commentary on the views of Federal Reserve officials. )
" In the residential mortgage market, demand was described as stable to very strong, with a high percentage of applicants looking to refinance. Several bankers expressed concern about the low interest rate environment and compliance costs related to new regulations and their effect on profitability. We heard a few reports about a moderate loosening of lending guidelines."
"Reports from home-builders on single-family housing starts during July were mixed, although all of our contacts said that activity had improved compared to a year ago. Sales contracts were in all price-point categories. Homebuilders anticipate only a modest increase in the construction of single-family homes in the near term; however, opportunities for rehabilitating old buildings into apartments and constructing new apartments and special-needs housing are viewed as strong. Selling prices of new single-family homes were up slightly during the past six months, and rents increased in the low to mid-single digits. The volatility seen in building material prices over the past five months is beginning to subside, although there is still upward pressure on lumber prices. "