Chapter

Building Nest Eggs and Homes

in The First Wall Street

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780226910260
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226910291 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226910291.003.0007
Building Nest Eggs and Homes

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In Philadelphia, many of the working poor managed to purchase their own homes, compared to other cities of America. Compared to a Manhattan tenement, even Philadelphia's diminutive bandbox houses were mansions. Best of all, the occupants owned them, and ownership brought pride, stability, and incentives to invest in the community. Philadelphia became the nation's original “City of Homes” for two simple reasons: supply and demand. On the supply side, it boasted a highly competitive home construction industry that erected some fifty-two thousand new houses between 1790 and 1850. On the demand side, early Philadelphians were usually industrious or unusually interested in owning their own homes, and, when it came to home ownership, fared better than their brethren did, mostly because they found it easier to save and to borrow.

Keywords: homes; occupants; Manhattan tenement; incentives; supply and demand; Philadelphia

Chapter.  5784 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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