The Beige Book by the Federal Reserve has been released. For the 12th district (i.e. the western states) the outlook was stated as follows:
Real Estate and Construction
Home demand in the District showed continued signs of improvement, while demand for commercial real estate was largely unchanged. Although still well below its historical average, the sales pace for new and existing homes picked up further in many areas. Contacts noted that pent-up demand may spur additional gains in coming months. Contacts reported a decrease in the inventory of available homes and a noticeable increase in construction activity. On the nonresidential side, contacts observed a reduction in commercial property vacancies in parts of the District.
District banking contacts reported that loan demand was unchanged or up somewhat compared with the prior reporting period. Some contacts reported that business loan demand inched up, although some of the new activity was for refinancing rather than expansion. Reports continued to highlight ample liquidity and stiff competition among lenders to provide credit to well-qualified business loan applicants. Contacts indicated that some borrowers received multiple offers to finance projects. Demand for consumer credit remained relatively strong, reflected primarily in high lending activity for automobile and home purchases.
Summary for the District
Economic activity in the Twelfth District grew at a modest pace during the reporting period of mid-August through late-September. Upward price pressures remained limited overall, and upward wage pressures remained muted. Sales of retail items rose slightly, and demand for most business and consumer services gained further on net. District manufacturing activity edged up. Agricultural output was mostly steady, while activity continued to trend up for providers of energy resources. Home demand in the District showed continued signs of improvement, and demand for commercial real estate was mainly stable. Financial institutions reported overall loan demand was unchanged or up somewhat on balance.