Construction and Real Estate: Summary - October 2009

Home sales moderated somewhat in September, according to business contacts and recent data releases. Sales growth remained strong in Florida. Contacts continued to note that sales activity was being spurred by first-time home buyer incentives. New home construction activity remained at low levels during September while new home inventories continued to decline. The outlook among Realtors for sales over the next three months remained positive on a year-over-year basis, and the outlook among builders improved slightly.

Commercial development remained weak across the District. Vacancy rates continued to trend up, with contacts noting greater downward pressure on rents. Developers continued to report fewer backlogs and more projects being delayed. Most commercial contacts anticipate weaker activity for the rest of 2009 and into 2010. Recent data support the view that commercial construction activity will continue to soften.