Housing markets continued to cool over the past two months and demand for mortgage loans has slowed, according to the newly released Beige Book by the Federal Reserve Board."The financial sector continues to report good credit quality," the Beige Book says. "But there was some slowing in loans to consumers, particularly mortgages and home equity loans." The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, however, reported "brisk" refinancing activity on the West Coast. Ten of the 12 Federal Reserve district banks reported softening in existing-home sales, and homebuilding slowed in most districts. "Although a slowdown in housing is apparent in a wide range of indicators, it seems to be occurring in a gradual way," Fed Governor Susan Bies told a mortgage bankers conference.

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