From the Federal Reserve:
Construction and Real Estate
Residential construction and home sales have remained sluggish but generally steady since the last report, while there has been further improvement in the rental market. Overall, prices of existing homes have edged up in recent months in many areas but are still down slightly from a year ago across most of the region. Buffalo-area Realtors report that market conditions remained weak in July and early August, with the median selling price little changed from a year earlier, but that a recent increase in pending sales suggests some recent firming in market conditions. An authority on New Jersey’s housing industry reports that a large overhang of distressed properties continues to weigh down the market but that the processing of foreclosures is now resuming; this is expected to lower reported transaction prices, on average, but increase sales activity and gradually reduce the inventory. New construction activity is very low and largely concentrated in the multi-family (rental) segment. A major appraisal firm reports a more-than-typical seasonal drop-off in activity in New York City’s co-op and condo market in August; some of the recent softness is deemed to reflect concern about the city’s financial sector. Still, the markets in Manhattan and nearby Brooklyn are reported to be holding up relatively well, buoyed, in part, by foreign buyers paying cash. New York City’s rental market has shown continued strength: the inventory of available units is down moderately, and rents on new leases continue to climb and are up 5 to 8 percent over the past year.