Well Worth Saving
How the New Deal Safeguarded Home Ownership
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, Price Fishback, Jonathan Rose, and Kenneth Snowden investigate important unanswered questions to provide an unparalleled view of the mortgage loan 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, including an examination of how the incentives and behaviors at play throughout the crisis influenced the effectiveness of policy.
More than eighty years after the start of the Great Depression, when politicians have called for similar programs to quell the current mortgage crisis, this accessible account of the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation holds invaluable lessons for our own time.
2 The Patchwork Mortgage Market in the 1920s
3 The Mortgage Crisis
4 Pressures for Government Action
5 The Economic Rationale for the HOLC
6 An HOLC Primer
7 The Lenders’ Good Deal
8 The Borrowers’ Good Deal
9 Repairing Mortgage and Housing Markets
10 The Cost to Taxpayers and Subsidies to the Housing Market
Appendix: Walking through the Analysis of the Impact of the HOLC