[UCP Books]: Well Worth Saving: How the New Deal Safeguarded Home Ownership

“Price Fishback, Jonathan Rose, and Kenneth Snowden have assembled compelling new data to reassess the costs and benefits of the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation, developing the broader history of housing support and relating their findings to the recent financial crisis in the United States and current government programs aimed at providing relief. This is a well-executed and thorough work.”

Kris James Mitchener, Santa Clara University

Well Worth Saving
How the New Deal Safeguarded Home Ownership
Price Fishback, Jonathan Rose, and Kenneth Snowden

Publication date: October 15, 2013 Cloth $35.00 • £24.00
International publication date: October 28, 2013   ISBN-13: 978-0-226-08244-8

The demand for housing after World War I fueled a boom in residential construction that led to historic peaks in home ownership. Foreclosures at the time were rare, and when they did happen, lenders could quickly recoup their losses by selling into a strong market. But no mortgage system is equipped to deal with credit problems on the scale of the Great Depression. As foreclosures quintupled, it became clear that the mortgage system of the 1920s was not up to the task, and borrowers, lenders, and real estate professionals sought action at the federal level.

Well Worth Saving tells the story of the disastrous housing market during the Great Depression and the extent to which an immensely popular New Deal relief program, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC), was able to stem foreclosures by buying distressed mortgages from lenders and refinancing them. Drawing on historical records and modern statistical tools, the authors investigate important unanswered questions to provide an unparalleled view of the industry throughout the 1920s and early ’30s. Combining this with the stories of those involved, the book offers a clear understanding of the HOLC within the context of the housing market in which it operated.

More than eighty years after the Great Depression, when politicians have called for similar programs to quell the current crisis, this accessible account holds invaluable lessons for our own time.
Price Fishback is the Thomas R. Brown Professor of Economics at the University of Arizona. Jonathan Rose is an economist with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Kenneth Snowden is associate professor of economic history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. They are available for interviews.
Please contact Melinda Kennedy at mkennedy1@press.uchicago.edu or (773) 702-2945 for more information.



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