Construction and Real Estate: Summary - November 2009

Existing home sales rebounded in October, according to business contacts and recent data releases. Sales growth remained strong in Florida. Contacts continued to note that sales activity was spurred by first-time home buyer incentives. New home sales were at more modest levels, and home construction activity remained at low levels. Contacts reported that both new and existing home inventories declined. The outlook among Realtors for sales over the next three months improved on a year-over-year basis, but the outlook among builders weakened.

Commercial development remained weak across the District. Vacancy rates continued to trend up, and contacts continued to note 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 remain weak.