What is The Beige Book?
The Beige Book is published eight times per year. Each Federal Reserve Bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its District through reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources. The Beige Book summarizes this information by District and sector.
The following paragraphs below is from The Boston Fed Beige Book:
Residential real estate markets in the First District slowed down in March and April due to the outbreak of COVID-19. For single family homes, closed sales decreased in all reporting areas and Rhode Island and New Hampshire experienced double-digit drops in pending sales. (Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine reported year-over-year changes from April 2019 to April 2020. Massachusetts and Boston reported statistics only through March. Connecticut and Vermont data were unavailable.) For condos, sales declined in all reporting areas but Boston. Nonetheless, a seller’s market prevailed, with median sales prices increasing and inventory dropping substantially in all reporting areas for both single family homes and condos.
The pause in market activity was expected by many contacts, since COVID-19 restrictions limited the availability of showings and squelched many sellers’ moving plans. Looking forward, contacts expressed generally optimistic views on the post-pandemic outlook but considerable concern about near-term uncertainty related to lifting economic restrictions associated with the pandemic.
For more information about District economic conditions visit: www.bostonfed.org/regional-economy.
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