Real Estate

Fed Beige Book: CRE Activity Softened – THE TENANT ADVISOR

Overall Economic Activity

Economic activity was unchanged, on balance, since early July, with five Districts reporting slight to modest growth in activity and five others reporting slight to modest softening. Most Districts reported steady consumer spending as households continued to trade down and to shift spending away from discretionary goods and toward food and other essential items. Auto sales remained muted across most Districts, reflecting limited inventories and elevated prices. Hospitality and tourism contacts highlighted overall solid leisure travel activity with some reporting an uptick in business and group travel. Manufacturing activity grew in several Districts, although there were some reports of declining output as supply chain disruptions and labor shortages continued to hamper production. Despite some reports of strong leasing activity, residential real estate conditions weakened noticeably as home sales fell in all twelve Districts and residential construction remained constrained by input shortages. Commercial real estate activity softened, particularly demand for office space. Loan demand was mixed; while financial institutions reported generally strong demand for credit cards and commercial and industrial loans, residential loan demand was weak amid elevated mortgage interest rates. Nonfinancial services firms experienced stable to slightly higher demand. Demand for transportation services was mixed and reports on agriculture conditions across reporting Districts varied. While demand for energy products was robust, production remained constrained by supply chain bottlenecks for critical components. The outlook for future economic growth remained generally weak, with contacts noting expectations for further softening of demand over the next six to twelve months.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Growth in the Eleventh District economy continued at a modest pace, though job growth was quite robust. Manufacturing and service sector activity continued to slow, growing at a diminished clip from earlier this year. Retail sales were flat to down, and home sales remained relatively subdued. Loan demand continued to increase but at a markedly slower pace. Local nonprofits reported increased demand for rent and food assistance amid rising costs. The energy sector expanded further while the ongoing drought resulted in significantly lower crop production and culling of livestock herds. Wage growth remained highly elevated due to a tight labor market. Supply chain bottlenecks have begun easing and prices were not rising as fast, though inflation is still high. Outlooks were mixed as uncertainty remained elevated, and contacts voiced concern about slowing demand and the risk of a recession stemming from high prices, weakening consumer sentiment, and rising interest rates.

Construction and Real Estate

Housing market activity remained weak, particularly at the entry level. Sales were off notably in July but improved in August partly due to a dip in mortgage rates. Home prices were flat to down, and incentives were becoming more widespread. Outlooks were uncertain, with contacts expecting further weakness ahead. Apartment leasing was solid and in line with pre-COVID levels, though momentum has slowed from its 2021 highs. Occupancy was flat to down and rent growth remained elevated but was declining from its earlier feverish pace. Demand for office space was mixed and construction subdued, while industrial leasing and construction remained high.

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