Introduction to "Housing and Mortgage Markets in Historical Perspective"
Chapter in NBER book Housing and Mortgage Markets in Historical Perspective (2014), Eugene N. White, Kenneth Snowden, and Price Fishback, editors (p. 1 - 13)
The introduction provides an overview of the historical precedents to the most recent housing crisis, examining how in previous crises falling housing prices, disruptions to financial markets and institutions and declines in consumer spending affected economic downturns. There is a special focus on the American housing busts of the 1920s and 1930s, with attention given to the measurement of housing prices, the resolution of failed financial institutions, and the mid-century scholarship that helped to define current academic and policy paradigms. The causes behind the usually rapid rise in homeownership in post-War World II US that helped to define the current market are investigated. Other essays examine the creation and evolution of mortgage markets in Germany and the Netherlands, providing a striking contrast to American institutions.
This paper was revised on February 4, 2016
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