National Housing Act

National Housing Act

The National Housing Act was passed by Congress, and signed into law by FDR, in 1934. It created the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), an agency designed to boost loans for building houses. Before the Great Depression, the federal government had very little involvement in the housing market, so the FHA role was groundbreaking. 

This bill is one of those hidden pieces of legislation that radically transformed the possibility for the American working class to have a middle-class life at home, all built on federal guarantees to regulation of the mortgage industry and the mechanics to push money into the hands of homeowners. It propped up whole industries and paved the way to the suburbs that brought workers out of slum and into new (or improved) homes.

Cry Wolf Quotes

There were many reasons why many of us who ordinarily would not like regimentation of industry—and we do not like regimentation of agriculture or any of the other instrumentalities of production—saw reasons under the emergency why it should be done, as an emergency say. But none of the reasons for which that was done in that character of industry holds good for any bill that will lead to a regimentation of American citizens, to say what he shall do with his individual home.

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Miss Marie L. Obenauer, Joint Chairman, Board of Governors of Home Owners’ Protective Enterprise, Testimony. Committee on Banking and Currency. Senate.
05/16/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): National Housing Act

A mortgage is just one of the things that you cannot guarantee. When the real-estate market completely goes to the bad and crashes, there is not money enough in this country or any other country to sustain mortgages at an even level. They have got to take the go-down, just the same as any other security or any other commodity.

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Harry E. Karr, Real Estate Board of Baltimore, Testimony, Committee on Banking and Currency. Senate.
05/16/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): National Housing Act

This act would affect building conditions in my State. While in many districts the population is quite dense, the districts are widely scattered. The irrigation districts are densely populated, but then there will be wide areas where there is practically no population at all. When you limit the radius to 50 miles you are putting out of business a good many of our building and loan associations because they cannot operate in an area supported by the business they will have in the small areas covered in this bill.

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Hon. Compton I. White, Idaho Congressman , Testimony, Committee on Banking and Currency. House.
05/18/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): National Housing Act

The enactment of the foregoing bill as introduced would, in our opinion, eventually ruin the original home thrift institutions, such as ours, and approximately 11,000 others in the United States holding the savings of 10,000,000 of our people in the aggregate sum of approximately $8,000,000,000.

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Telegram from H.J. Hull in the statement of Hon. Compton I. White, Idaho Congressman, Testimony, House Committee on Banking and Currency.
05/18/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): National Housing Act