Housing and Mortgage Markets in Historical Perspective

Housing and Mortgage Markets in Historical Perspective

Eugene N. White, Kenneth Snowden, and Price Fishback

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780226073842

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


The central role played by housing in the “Great Recession” of 2007 leads to this question: “What was different this time?” This book is designed to bring historical perspective to the answers to this question. This volume begins with a brief account of the development of the housing and mortgage markets in the U.S. during the first half of the twentieth century and a historiography of the extraordinary burst of scholarship that analysed it. This important research was conducted under the auspices of the NBER between 1935 and 1960 and shaped both post-depression institutions and views of policy makers. Several essays treat the American boom and bust of the 1920s that was followed by extraordinary collapse of the 1930s. These studies yield new measures of the movement of housing prices, analyses of the factors behind the boom, and how the crashes led to further economic decline via disruption of financial institutions and markets and falls in consumer spending. One essay examines how failing financial institutions were liquidated in these troubled times, differing from approaches during the recent crisis. Studies of the evolution of mortgage securitization in Germany and the Netherlands yield insightful contrasts to the American experience. By offering a broad historical and international appreciation of housing and mortgage markets, this volume provides new information that should inform future policy debates.

Table of Contents


Kenneth Snowden, Eugene N. White, and Price Fishback

I Housing and the Interwar Business Cycles

II A Closer Look at the Interwar Housing Crisis

III Securitization in Earlier Times

8 Dutch Securities for American Land Speculation in the Late Eighteenth Century

Rik Frehen, William N. Goetzmann, and K. Geert Rouwenhorst

9 Lending to Lemons

Kirsten Wandschneider

IV Postwar Housing Policies

11 Did Housing Policies Cause the Postwar Boom in Home Ownership?

Matthew Chambers,Carlos Garriga, and Don E. Schlagenhauf