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Debtor NationThe History of America in Red Ink$
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Louis Hyman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691140681

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691140681.001.0001

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Debt and Recovery

Debt and Recovery

New Deal Housing Policy and the Making of National Mortgage Markets

(p.45) Chapter Two Debt and Recovery
Debtor Nation

Louis Hyman

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the New Deal housing policy and the making of national mortgage markets. Though Franklin Roosevelt was sympathetic to housing the poor, his policies aimed, primarily, to grow the economy and reduce unemployment. If this could be accomplished through housing the poor, all the better, but that was a secondary goal to restoring economic growth. Unlike the other housing programs of the New Deal, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) promised and achieved this growth. By 1939, investment in residential housing was nearly back to its 1929 levels. The flood of funds, guaranteed profits, and standardized policies initiated through the FHA changed the way banks operated forever, turning mortgages into nationally traded commodities—and in the process changing the way Americans related to banks and debt.

Keywords:   New Deal housing policy, national mortgage markets, Roosevelt administration, Federal Housing Administration, residential housing, mortgages

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