From the Federal Reserve:
Second District–New York
Economic growth in the Second District has remained modest since the last report, though there have been some signs of improvement in the labor market. Manufacturers report some further deterioration in their assessment of overall business conditions but note that orders, shipments and employment levels have been stable. Consumer spending, on the other hand, has been comparatively robust, despite low levels of consumer confidence: auto dealers report brisk business in August and September, non-auto retail contacts report that sales have been on or ahead of plan, and tourism activity has remained strong. Commercial real estate markets have been mixed but, on balance, slightly stronger since the last report. Home sales have been mixed, with scattered signs of a pickup, while the rental market has continued to strengthen. New home construction remains stalled, aside from rental apartments. There has been substantial new hotel development in Manhattan. Conditions in New York City’s key securities industry have weakened noticeably. Finally, bankers report a pickup in demand for residential mortgage loans (largely refinancing), a slight increase in demand for non-residential mortgages, some easing in credit standards for business loans, and little change in delinquency rates.
Construction and Real Estate
Residential construction remains moribund, particularly for single-family homes. Home sales have picked up a bit in parts of the District but remain weak overall, while the rental market has continued to strengthen. The housing market in northern New Jersey remains sluggish: with a dearth of new home construction, aside from some development of rental projects, the inventory of distressed properties has declined slightly but remains large; sales volume remains sluggish, and home prices have held steady and appear to have bottomed out. After a strong July and August, sales of Manhattan apartments tapered off in September; while co-op sales have been relatively sluggish, condominium sales have been buoyed by foreign buyers. The inventory of available newly-constructed condos has declined considerably in recent months but remains elevated. The lowering of the jumbo mortgage threshold from $730,000 to $625,500 on October 1st appears to have had little effect on the market. Overall, co-op and condo prices remain essentially flat. New York City’s rental market continues to strengthen. Net effective rents (which take into account landlord concessions that were prevalent a year ago but are now rare) are up roughly 5 percent from a year ago, with steeper increases at the high end of the market. Realtors in western New York State note that market conditions have improved slightly, with sales picking up and prices up slightly from a year ago.
Commercial real estate markets have been mixed since the last report. In New York City and metropolitan Buffalo, office vacancy rates declined in the third quarter, while rents moved up. However, vacancy rates rose in Westchester and Fairfield counties and were little changed across other parts of the District, while asking rents were generally down modestly. The market for industrial and warehouse space has not changed noticeably, except in metropolitan Albany and northern New Jersey, where asking rents are down moderately from a year ago. New office construction and development remains sluggish, but a number of major hotel development projects have been announced recently or are already underway in New York City.