Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




R. S. Harris




Residential financing has enabled many individuals to become home owners, who might otherwise have been forced to rent. The changes that have occurred in Canada's housing policies and the Canadian mortgage market have had a significant impact on how homes are financed today. This thesis examines the impact the Depression has had on home ownership and residential financing. There are two aspects to this thesis. The first sets the context by examining residential financing between 1901 to 1951. The second focuses on the 1930's, and especially the incidence of mortgage default.

Through the use of Registry records and Assessment rolls it is possible to observe the proportion of homes that were mortgaged by age of structure, tenure, and occupation of 'head' of household. This analysis uses Hamilton, during the first half of this century, as a case study. During this time, a greater proportion of dwelling units were owned outright as opposed to being mortgaged. However, financing did play a significant role, especially in the 1920's. Private financing was the dominant source of mortgage finance but this decreased in importance from 1921 to 1951 as institutions became more active. The Depression did have a significant impact on the financing of dwellings during the 1930's and indeed into the 1950's. Not only did the Depression affect the ability of home property, it initiated the first real government intervention in the housing and mortgage markets through the introduction of various housing policies and legislation.

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