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New Evidence on Redlining by Federal Housing Programs in the 1930s
We show that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), from its inception in the 1930s, did not insure mortgages in low income urban neighborhoods where the vast majority of urban Black Americans lived. The agency evaluated neighborhoods using block-level information collected by New Deal relief programs and the Census in many cities. The FHA's exclusionary pattern predates the advent of the infamous maps later made by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) and shows little change after the drafting of those maps. In contrast, the HOLC itself broadly loaned to such neighborhoods and to ...
Housing Markets in a Time of Crisis: A Historical Perspective
As the coronavirus (Covid-19) public health crisis unfolds, a second crisis in the economy is developing as well. One economic concern, among many, is the debt burden of households. Early reports point to a surge in unemployment claims during March 2020, raising the prospect that widespread unemployment is likely to impair the ability of households to make payments on their home mortgages and other loans in the months ahead. This represents a potential crisis in mortgage markets, as borrowers who are temporarily unemployed—but for an unknown period—may face default on their mortgages.