Some bankers say loan demand rose in latest Beige Book; housing growth remains constrained

Consumer loan balances rose during July and August, most bankers told the Federal Reserve, but other financiers cited mixed experiences in loan demand, according to a report released Wednesday.

In its latest Beige Book, the Fed’s semi-monthly (published eight times a year) compilation of economic reports from each of the Federal Reserve Bank’s 12 districts, the agency also reported that some districts reported higher delinquencies on consumer credit lines. (The Beige Book summarizes comments the district banks received from outside the Federal Reserve System from a variety of business and nonbusiness sources.)

In other comments, the report (which is based on information collected by Aug. 28) indicates that the supply of single-family housing did not become more abundant this summer. “Nearly all Districts reported the inventory of homes for sale remained constrained,” the report stated. “Accordingly, new construction activity picked up for single-family housing.”

However, the report stated, higher financing costs (from rising interest rates) and higher insurance premiums “increasingly challenged” the construction of affordable housing units.

As for auto sales, the report contends that they expanded in many districts – but not necessarily because consumers wanted more cars. “Contacts noted this had more to do with better availability of inventory rather than increased consumer demand,” the report stated.

Beige Book – September 6, 2023