June 11, 2013
The Southeast economy continued its trend of gradual improvement in April, according to the latest Data Digest. The monthly report highlighted positive developments in the region's real estate and manufacturing sectors, among others.
Indeed, the housing market continues to be a welcome bright spot. The Atlanta Fed's Construction and Real Estate Survey, which collects responses from brokers and builders throughout the region, noted improving sales, tighter inventories, and stronger buyer traffic compared to a year ago. In addition, most builders and brokers reported a positive outlook for sales over the next several months.
Although the housing sector is recovering, the degree of improvement is uneven. House prices for the United States as a whole rose in the first quarter. The same was true for several southeastern states, including Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida—where the recovery in residential real estate has been particularly notable. Meanwhile, house prices declined in the first quarter in Alabama and Mississippi, the report said.
Southeast manufacturing activity also strengthened in April, according to the Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) produced by Kennesaw State University. The regional index was firmly in expansionary territory in April with a reading of 55.5. (An index of 50 or higher indicates an expansion.)
Be sure to read the full Data Digest for more data and analysis on the Southeast economy.