Regional survey shows positive developments in real estate
Monthly surveys of business contacts within the Sixth Federal Reserve District gauge opinions about changing business conditions and the factors that may be affecting those conditions. This information helps us interpret and anticipate developments in the regional economy. Our most recent report on real estate was rather positive.
Survey results from both southeastern brokers and builders indicated sales growth improved again during January on a year-over-year basis. Nearly two-thirds of brokers reported sales gains, and more than two-thirds of builders also reported that sales were up slightly compared with a year earlier.
Unfortunately, home prices in the region continue to languish, although there was some positive news from brokers. Southeastern broker reports indicated that downward home price pressure abated during January, and most builders continued to report year-over-year declines. Among brokers, roughly one-third said that home prices were up year over year, one-third reported declines, and the remaining third indicated no change.
Most uplifting, sales expectations continued to improve. The chart below shows survey results for the sales outlook among both builders and real estate brokers. In fact, builders' expectations are at their highest level in survey history. It is important to remember, however, that sales levels are at historic lows as well, so improvement will occur from very weak levels of activity. But any improvement, especially in the hard-hit real estate sector, is most welcome.
Full results from the survey can be found on the Atlanta Fed's Regional Economic Information Network.
By Mike Chriszt, an assistant vice president in the Atlanta Fed's research department
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