Overall loan volumes see some increases; high demand for home loans in tightening market

Modest to moderate increases in overall loan volumes were reported by bankers in most Federal Reserve districts from late February to early April, but high demand was seen in lending for single family homes, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday.

In releasing its latest Beige Book (a report on current economic conditions, summarized from comments received from contacts outside the Fed – such as from business owners, bank leaders and others – published eight times a year from each of the Fed’s 12 district banks), the Fed also noted that the supply of single-family homes for sale was tight, pushing up prices. Meanwhile, the report states, home builders noted ongoing production challenges, including rising costs.

Reports on commercial real estate and construction varied, the Beige Book noted, with activity in the hotel, office, and retail segments generally remaining weak. Agricultural conditions were mostly stable over the reporting period, the report stated.

On the non-financial side, the report noted that conditions improved, “partly supported by strengthening demand for transportation, professional and business, and leisure and hospitality services.” The report noted that despite widespread supply chain disruptions, manufacturing activity expanded further, with half the bank districts citing robust growth.

Overall, nearly every one of the Fed’s 12 bank districts reported economic activity expanding at “a modest to moderate pace,” driven, some said, by the influx of coronavirus crisis payouts to consumers by the federal government and availability of vaccines to combat the virus. Some districts reported “increased optimism” for economic conditions in the coming months.

Federal Reserve Beige Book – April 14, 2021