From the Beige Book:
Reports of auto sales were steady to stronger in ten Districts.
Richmond, Atlanta, and San Francisco noted strong sales. New York and
Dallas cited mixed sales that were generally positive, while auto sales
in Kansas City slowed but remained higher than a year ago. Some dealers
in the Chicago and Kansas City Districts reported high levels of
inventory. Contacts in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Dallas
expect consumers to react to ongoing fiscal uncertainty, thus dimming a
positive outlook for future sales. Chicago auto dealers were more
upbeat, expecting stronger new car sales due to pent-up consumer demand,
easing credit conditions, and rising used vehicle prices.
Existing residential real estate activity expanded in all Districts that
reported; growth rates were described as moderate or strong in nine
Districts. Contacts in the Boston District attributed their strong sales
growth to low interest rates, affordable prices, and rising rents. All
Districts reporting on price levels saw increases; New York and Chicago
reported only very minor increases. The five Districts that reported on
housing inventories all reported falling levels. New residential
construction (including repairs) expanded in all but one District of
those Districts that reported. Contacts in the Kansas City District
reported that increased lumber and drywall costs limited construction,
causing a slight decline this period. Hurricane Sandy disrupted
construction activity initially in New York, but this has since led to
increased work for subcontractors on repairs and reconstruction.
Consumer durable goods sales are an important indicator of confidence in future economic prospects. The above points tell us that there is at least enough confidence in the economy overall to engage in long-term financing.