The May Beige Book from the Federal Reserve says that overall economic activity was little changed overall in April and early in May, the same state as the previous report. Four districts saw “small increases” in activity, six said no change, and two had “slight to moderate declines.” Consumer spending was higher in most districts, especially in leisure and hospitality. Manufacturing was flat, supply chain continued to improve, but commercial real estate decreased overall, with the office sector particularly weak. Commercial construction also declined.

In Boston, CRE saw moderate decline since April. Rents leveled off in industrial and leasing slowed due to a lack of space. Office deal flow slowed both in urban and suburban markets. Retail was mixed, “with grocery-anchored and big-box retail spaces performing the best and the worst, respectively.” Across types, “investment sales slowed to a trickle” and expectations were set for further declines in retail and office.

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Erik Sherman

 

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