The Federal Reserve’s report on the economy released around every six weeks or so is the so-called “Beige Book.” The Federal Reserve Bank polls banks, bank branches and various business contacts to get an overall picture of the economy over the previous six week period.

It’s not the most private investingdata-intensive reports, not like a statistic released from the Bureau of Labor on payroll or the unemployment rate, or the Gross Domestic Product for example, but more of an anecdotal treatise. Sentiments from industry executives summarized in a book that is indeed, beige in cover.

Today, January 15, the latest Fed beige book was released and real estate investors should welcome the news. The report stated that “The economic outlook is positive in most districts, with some reports citing expectations of ‘more of the same’ and some expecting a pick-up in growth,” according to a report released by CNBC.com (1)

This tells real estate investors that the economy is still on an upward trend but the slope is a gradual one and perhaps imperceptible in certain areas. The information was collected prior to January 7 of this year and provided no news that would rock the markets one way or the other. Economists in general have watched the economy slowly improve then experience a temporary setback, only to recover somewhat at the release of the next number.

The surprising unemployment report for December was one such report. The rate fell by .03 percent but nearly 350,000 people left the work force, forcing the unemployment rate downward while a paltry 74,000 jobs were created. The drop may largely be blamed on the winter weather that affected the Midwest and East Coast and it shouldn’t be surprising to see the January numbers be a bit better than expected with upward revisions for the January count.

There is in fact a recovery, just a moderate one and one that can’t be felt or appreciated by the everyday consumer. That means real estate values should continue their rise while mortgage rates remain in their current range. If that’s the future for the next quarter, it’s good news for real estate investors. Investors in stocks, maybe not so much.

  1. http://www.cnbc.com/id/101339150