Residential construction remains strong across the country, but lenders are reporting "steep declines" in mortgage refinancings, according to the Federal Reserve Board's Beige Book."Most Federal Reserve district banks report sizable declines in mortgage refinancing activity," the Beige Book says. However, the Dallas Reserve Bank indicated persistent strength in refinancings and the Chicago and Minneapolis banks reported a "slight bounce-back in late September." Meanwhile, commercial real estate markets continue to be "sluggish" and "weak" in most Federal Reserve districts, the economic report says.

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