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Chart 3. Privately financed nonfarm dwelling units started-United States totals by
type of structure, by month, January 1945 to March 1947...
Chart 4. Private nonfarm residential construction-building permits issued, esti-
mated construction cost of dwelling units started, and value of construction put
in place, by 'year-1920-1946_..

Chart 5. Publicly financed nonfarm new family dwelling units started-by years,
1936 through 1946...

Chart 6. Publicly financed nonfarm new family dwelling units completed-by years, 1936 through 1946-...

Chart 7. Public low-rent housing, nonfarm dwelling units approved by the President and completed-by program and by year, 1934-46..

Chart 8. Cost in current dollars, of a house costing $5,000 in 1935-39, based on consolidated Boeckh index of construction costs, 1920-46--.

Chart 9. Residential construction costs, National Housing Agency indexes, by year,

1936-46_

Chart 10. Geographic variations in dwelling unit types, 1940.

Chart 11. Units built in specified periods as percent of all nonfarm dwelling units in
each geographic division in 1940..

Chart 12. State of repair and plumbing equipment, nonfarm dwelling units Novem-
ber 1945.
Chart 13. Tenure: Nonfarm and farm dwelling units, percent owner-occupied,
1890-1945.

Chart 14. Dwelling units occupied by nonwhite families as percentage of all occupied
dwelling units in each geographic division, 1940..
Chart 15. Distribution of monthly rents for tenant-occupied nonfarm dwelling units,
1940 and 1945__.
Chart 16. Changes in number of tenant-occupied nonfarm dwelling units in each
rental class, 1940-45-.-.

Chart 17. Trend in population and families, 1890-1945.
Chart 18. Marriages in the United States, annually, 1910-45-
Chart 19. Divorces in the United States, annually, 1910-45-

Chart 20. Number of marriages and divorces per thousand population, annually,
1910-45---

Chart 21. Nonfarm mortgages recorded: Principal amount by month, 1939 through
March 1947.......

Chart 22. Nonfarm mortgages recorded: Average principal amount, by year, 1939-46-
Chart 23. Nonfarm mortgages recorded: Percentage distribution of dollar amount by
type of mortgagee, by year, 1939–46_-_.

Chart 24. New mortgage loans: Percentage distribution of principal amount of loans made by Savings and Loan Associations, by purpose of loan, by year, 1936-46Chart 25. Home mortgage investment: Gross addition, gross reduction, and net change by year, 1926-46..

Chart 26. Number and total principal amount of home loans guaranteed by VA as
percentages of total mortgages recorded, by month, 1945-47--

Chart 27. Face amount of FHA insured loans in force at year end and face amount
transferred annually, Sections 203 and 603, by year, 1938-46---
Chart 28. Mortgage payment, as percent of borrower's income and percentage of
total mortgages insured under Section 203, by borrower's income, 1940.---

Appendixes

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A. Bibliography of Sources...

151

B. Federal Legislation and Presidential Executive Orders Affecting Housing 1932 to
August 1947___

C. Appendix Tables..

157 162

Appendix Tables

Table A. Total war dwelling units started: United States totals, by type of financing,
by type of accommodation, by year, 1940-45.-
Table B. Publicly financed nonfarm new family dwelling projects: Number of units
started, by type of program, by type of accommodation, by year, 1940-46..
Table C. Publicly financed nonfarm new dwelling projects: Number of units com-
pleted, by type of program, by type of accommodation, by year, 1940-46------
Table D. Housing accommodations started: United States totals, by type of program,
by month, January 1946-March 1947...

162

162

162

163

Table E. Housing accommodations completed: United States totals by type of program, by month, January 1946-March 1947-...

163

Table F. Accommodations covered by HH priority authorizations: United States totals, by issuing agency, by type of accommodation (new or conversion) as of Dec. 23, 1946...

163

Table G. Number of dwelling units authorized for construction by FHA: United
States totals by type of dwelling unit, Jan. 15-Dec. 23, 1946..

163

Table H. New rental dwelling units authorized for construction by FHA: United States totals by specified maximum monthly rental interval and monthly reporting period, Jan. 15-Dec. 23, 1946.

164

Page

Table I. New sales dwelling units authorized for construction by FHA: United States
totals by maximum authorized sales price and monthly reporting period,
Jan. 15-Dec. 23, 1946.

Table J. New dwelling units authorized for construction by FHA: By geographic
division and monthly reporting period, Jan. 15-Dec. 23, 1946-
Table K. New rental dwelling units authorized for construction by FHA: By geo-
graphic division and monthly rental, Jan. 15-Dec. 23, 1946.......
Table L. New sales dwelling units authorized for construction by FHA: By geo-
graphic division and maximum authorized sales price, Jan. 15-Dec. 23, 1946..
Table M. Number and percentage distribution of new dwelling units authorized by
FHA: United States totals by type of structure and by monthly reporting period,
Dec. 24, 1946-Mar. 28, 1947 ...

Table N. Number and percentage distribution of new nonfarm dwelling units au-
thorized by FHA for rent to veterans, by authorized maximum monthly rental
interval and by monthly reporting period, Dec. 24, 1946-May 2, 1947...
Table O. New nonfarm dwelling units authorized by FHA for sale to veterans or for
owner occupancy: Number and percent distribution by maximum authorized
floor area interval, Dec. 24, 1946-May 2, 1947...
Table P. New dwelling units authorized by FHA: By type of structure, by geo-
graphic division, Dec. 24, 1946-May 30, 1947..

164

165

165

166

166

167

167

167

Index..

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Index

168

--2

PART ONE

HOUSING PRODUCTION AND COST Introduction

Ever since the 1920's, and especially since 1933 when housing became a matter of governmental concern, there has been a growing interest in statistics measuring the level, trend, and economic significance of residential construction activity. Both industry and Government have sought to find, in quantitative data, some guidance in the development of public and business policies which might produce a steady flow of new housing adjusted to the market in both volume and cost.

This growth of interest has led various agencies, both public and private, to devote increasing attention to the technical problems of current reporting, and continuing efforts have been made to widen the coverage of reporting sources, to strengthen techniques where estimating was necessary, and to provide additional internal classifications as new questions arose for which the answers could not be found in existing data. No less important than the improvement of current reporting have been the efforts of research groups such as the Twentieth Century Fund and the National Bureau of Economic Research to provide historical data with which current trends might be compared. These organizations have prepared estimates of new nonfarm family dwelling units started by years from 1900 to 1929. These estimates were necessarily based on incomplete data compiled without the benefit of later improvements in current reporting systems. They are subject to some error in the distribution as between years but the decade totals are believed to be fairly reliable.1

Using techniques similar to those employed by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, has prepared estimates for the years 1930-39. The Bureau, which is the official Government source of statistics on residential construction,

1 See appendix A, Bibliography for Part One.

now keeps these data current through a system of estimates which are prepared for each month and then recast at the end of each year into a final annual estimate.

With certain omissions which are discussed later, it is thus possible to put together from the estimates of these three agencies, a picture of residential construction since 1900. This has been

done in the insert table. (Public housing, shown separately in the table, is reported to Bureau of Labor Statistics by the Federal Public Housing Authority.)

A brief look at the history of residential construction since 1900 as revealed by these figures will serve as a background for further discussion of statistical developments.

The wide fluctuations which characterize home building activity are apparent. Approximately 4,000,000 dwelling units were added to the Nation's housing supply during each of the first two decades; the second decade undoubtedly would have shown an increase over the first had it not been for the relatively low activity during the World War I years.

The third and fourth decades are in marked contrast with each other as well as with the two earlier periods. More than 7,000,000 dwelling units were added in the years 1920-29, less than 3,000,000 during the 1930's. World War II with its severe shortages of labor and materials, interfered seriously with housing production during the first half of the 1940 decade, the total new supply for the first 7 years being less than 3,500,000 units including war housing.

Beginning with World War I the flow of housing into our supply has come not as a steady stream, but as a series of sharply contrasting peaks and valleys. Low levels of activity characterize both World War periods; sharp rises following the end of each war testify to housing shortages and

consequent high demand. The peace years between the wars show first an abrupt break resulting from high prices, then a rise to a high production level during the 1920's with each of the 7 years from 1922 to 1928 showing additions well above 700,000 units. Production tapered off from the peak of 937,000 units in 1925, and 8 years later, in 1933, construction amounted to only 93,000 units, or less than 10 percent of the peak. The climb from this low point was long and slow, and it was during this period that public housing first assumed some importance as a contributor to the Nation's housing supply. During the war, public, financing of housing production assumed substantial proportions; privately financed housing has nevertheless continued to constitute the mainstay of our housing supply. Total new nonfarm family dwelling units started: By type of financing, by year, 1900 through 1946

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Excludes 5,998 publicly financed dwelling units completed in 1918 and 1919 by the U. S. Housing Corporation. Data as to when these units were started are not available.

A large proportion of this housing is comprised of temporary wartime units. Data for 1945 and 1946 adjusted for lapsed building permits and for lag between issuance of permit and actual start of construction.

Excludes veterans' housing units provided by conversion, stop-gap family accommodations, and veterans' housing developed with local funds which is not otherwise part of the Federal Public Housing Authority Title V program.

Sources: Twentieth Century Fund-1900-1919; National Bureau of Economic Research-1920-29; Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. Department of Labor for privately financed, Federal Public Housing Authority tor publicly financed-1930-46.

Current Residential Construction Data

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has been developing its present program of residential construction statistics since the late 1930's. It now prepares a group of interrelated monthly estimates covering

the number of new nonfarm family dwelling units started, their estimated costs, and the on-site employment and value put-in-place during the course of construction. The methods used in preparing these estimates are described in chapters I and II below. It should be noted here that they are estimates and that there are no current series which represent an actual count of dwelling units constructed or which provide data on their costs taken from actual accounting records. The Bureau has attempted to approach this ideal by enlisting the cooperation of municipal authorities in reporting data on permits issued for dwelling units, and an encouraging proportion of permits issued by urban places is now so reported. However, a large amount of construction takes place in outlying areas where permits are not required, and continuing and relatively costly field checks have had to be employed to account for this factor. While continuing to emphasize the improvement of its reporting sources, the Bureau believes that most users of residential construction data do not have the facilities for compiling their own estimates from the raw data reported and therefore has designed its program so as to produce, from the combination of reported information and field surveys, a set of "ready-made" estimates consistent with the broad estimates for earlier years referred to above.

While for this reason the BLS data receive primary attention in this book, it should be noted that data on residential construction volume also are compiled by the F. W. Dodge Corp. for the 37 States east of the Rocky Mountains. The data represent a compilation of the construction news reports of its field agents. In contrast to the BLS, the Dodge corporation presents only the unadjusted data and does not estimate for any undercoverage in reporting States or for construction in the 11 Western States where its field agents do not operate.

It also should be noted that current data on residential construction activity fall short of present requirements in certain other respects. Current reports, for example, provide very little data on farm dwelling construction. Even in the rural nonfarm classification, which they do attempt to cover, no satisfactory data are regularly collected on repair and maintenance construction despite its obvious importance, nor is there any permanent system for measuring the number of existing structures which are converted to provide additional dwelling units or are converted from

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