From the Federal Reserve:
Activity in residential real estate and new home construction remained slow across all Districts. A majority of the Districts, including Boston, New York, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco characterized local housing markets as weak and sluggish with little change from the previous reporting period. Kansas City noted further weakening, while Richmond received reports of both flat activity and further declines. The St. Louis District saw additional declines in existing home sales, but also cited increased new home construction permits. All Districts attributed slumping activity to concerns about the pace of economic recovery, especially in employment, while the Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago Districts mentioned difficulty obtaining credit as another constraint on demand. High levels of existing home inventories continued to damp the pace of new home construction in most Districts reporting on construction, although Boston, Richmond, Dallas, and San Francisco mentioned pick-ups in multifamily construction within their Districts. Home prices generally declined or held steady in the New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and San Francisco Districts; the New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco Districts mentioned distressed properties placing downward pressure on prices. Boston reported rising median home prices across most states in the District, but contacts attributed those increases to relatively higher sales of more expensive properties rather than a general upward movement in home prices. Outlooks for residential real estate in the coming year were mixed, with contacts in most Districts described as expecting continued weak conditions.
Second District–New York
Construction and Real Estate
Housing markets across the District have been sluggish but generally stable since the last report, while new construction activity has remained exceptionally weak. The housing market in western New York State was described as “dead” in November and December. A contact in New Jersey’s housing industry reports that market conditions have stabilized but have yet to improve, weighed down by a large inventory of unsold existing homes. Single-family home construction has picked up slightly but remains at a very low level, while multi-family construction has fallen. Transaction prices in northern New Jersey are reported to be flat to declining modestly, though the underlying market is hard to gauge because a disproportionate number of recent transactions are distress sales. New York City’s co-op and condo market was relatively stable in the fourth quarter, while the rental market has shown signs of picking up.