But Willems said all the Realtors in that meeting room in Philadelphia on Thursday, and probably many in Berks County, are smiling about the latest report from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.That report showed that Reading’s gross domestic product, or GDP, tied for fastest growing in the 38 metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, in the Mideast region, one of eight regions in the country.Real estate and rental and leasing activity, according to the report, overwhelmingly fueled that growth.

Reading’s GDP grew 3.8 percent from $17.14 billion in 2015 to $17.8 billion in 2016, making it tops in the region that includes Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and portions of Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia.That growth rate was 44th highest in the country out of 382 metropolitan statistical areas. Salisbury, Md., also part of the region, also grew at 3.8 percent.

A roughly 20 percent jump in real estate-related dollars, from $2.4 billion in 2015 to $2.9 billion last year, powered the overall growth in Reading’s GDP.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the real estate and rental and leasing category includes buying, selling, managing and appraising real estate as well as businesses that lease equipment such as cars and computers.

A higher volume of leasing and purchasing activity or more dollars per transaction contributed to the rise in GDP, according to Ralph Rodriguez, an economist in the regional product division for the Bureau of Economic Analysis.”
This could mean that more new homes were sold, or that the value of those new homes sold increased, or both,” he said.It’s all stuff that makes people in real estate giddy.