“We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land,” said Herbert Hoover in his 1928 speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination. As it turned out, Hoover was proven very wrong less than one year later. After nearly a decade of rapid growth, the U.S. stock market peaked in August 1929. But rising unemployment, low wages, declining production, and a suffering agricultural sector meant stock values were greatly inflated. The fall began on October 18 and culminated on October 29, better known as Black Tuesday, when 16,410,030 shares were traded on the New York Stock Exchange on a single day and billions of dollars were lost. Though hardly the sole cause of the Great Depression, a decade-long period during which nearly 15 million Americans were unemployed and worse, the stock market crash did accelerate the global economic collapse. Shantytowns, dubbed Hoovervilles, became a common sight throughout the country. Between 1929 and 1932 alone, house-building fell by 80 percent, industrial production dropped 45 percent, and approximately 5,000 banks went out of business. Full recovery took a whopping 35 years — not until November 23, 1954, when the Dow closed at 383, did it surpass its previous high, recorded on September 23, 1929.
For more moments in housing history, check out the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® timeline.