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During World War II, housing construction came to a virtual standstill. The return of millions of servicemen to civilian life in 1945 set off a national housing crisis, followed by a construction boom. Although other New Deal and wartime housing programs emphasized rental apartments in close proximity to workplaces, the post-war building boom focused on single residence suburban development. Prodded by builders like William Levitt, the government underwrote low-interest loans that made it possible for working people to own their own homes in the suburbs, once a domain reserved for the well-to-do. Those Federal Housing Authority loans, however, deepened racial and class divisions across metropolitan America, since the FHA refused to write mortgage loans in cities and allowed its loan holders to enforce restrictive covenants barring Jews and African Americans from buying homes in certain areas.

Source: American Social History Project.