From the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco:
Real Estate and Construction (National)
With only scattered exceptions, Districts reported slower activity in residential real estate markets. For new and existing homes, available reports indicated that the pace of sales declined and that the inventory of available homes and time on the market rose in most major metropolitan areas nationwide. Slower sales activity has translated into more limited price gains, and residential construction activity has fallen in most Districts as well.
The St. Louis and Dallas Districts were exceptions to the general slowdown in residential market activity. In the St. Louis District, the pace of home sales was largely unchanged or up slightly compared with a year earlier, although residential construction slowed there. Housing markets have remained resilient in the Dallas District, where despite signs of cooling, “home demand remains strong” and residential building activity has been “robust.”
As home demand has slipped more generally, scattered reports indicated a strengthening in demand for rental units. New York reported that the market for apartment rentals has been tightening in Manhattan, and according to Atlanta slower condominium sales in Florida have prompted owners to convert some units to rental property.
Construction and Real Estate (New York)
Further slackening is noted in the region’s housing market since the last report, though Manhattan’s rental market has continued to firm. New Jersey homebuilders report that the inventory of new and existing homes on the market increased further in the second quarter, but a bit less rapidly than in the first. A disproportionate part of the inventory accumulation is at the middle to high end of the market ($500,000 and over). Builders are also seeing that homes they have recently sold to investors looking to “flip” the properties are remaining on the market longer, exerting increased competitive pressure. Builders have recently begun to reduce selling prices on some units.
A major appraisal firm reports that sales of Manhattan co-ops and condos were down more than 10 percent from a year earlier in the second quarter, while prices were up roughly 5 percent. Separately, a major real estate firm notes that sales of Manhattan’s co-ops and condos slowed sharply in June, following fairly brisk business in May, while selling prices continue to run a bit higher than a year ago. Both contacts note that the inventory of unsold apartments has increased sharply and steadily over the past year, driven largely by new development. In contrast, a major Manhattan real estate agency notes further tightening in the rental market in June and early July: the inventory of available units continues to decline, and rents are up across the board, with gains of more than 10 percent in certain neighborhoods.
Office markets across the New York City area were mixed to stronger in the second quarter. Throughout Manhattan and in Fairfield County (Ct.), office availability rates fell to their lowest levels in roughly five years, while asking rents showed sturdy increases of 6 percent or more from a year earlier. However, vacancy rates rose in Long Island and edged up in Westchester and northern and central New Jersey; asking rents in these areas are little changed from a year ago.