In 1928, the Workers' Bank was founded as a public housing agency of the federal government. Between 1959 and mid-1966, 23,881 low-cost units (houses and apartments) were constructed by the Workers' Bank throughout the country. By spending 75% of housing funds in rural areas and 25% in the cities, reversing the earlier ratio, the government hoped to cut down the exodus of peasants to Caracas and to maintain the nation's essential agricultural labor force. A housing program was initiated in 1958 to build low-cost rural homes to replace the existing mud and thatch huts with homes built of cement and earthen blocks with asbestos roofs. The average cost of each home came to an estimated B 4,450, payable in 20 years at a rate of B 20 monthly. By 1969, the government had built 104,598 cheap and comfortable homes for lower-income groups, 57,675 in cities and 46,923 in rural areas.
Construction of low-cost housing units during the early 1970s proceeded at a rate of about 100,000 a year. During 1977–81, the public sector built 167,325 housing units, and the private sector 71,922. In 1981, the government introduced new low-interest housing loans, but that policy did not prevent a housing slump that persisted from 1982 through 1986 as a result of the general recession; housing units built by the public sector in 1986 totaled 91,666. The total number of housing units in the mid-1990s exceeded three million.
In the mid-1990s, more than 60% of all housing units were detached or semi-detached houses; nearly 20% were apartments; and over 15% were improvised living quarters. Owners occupied 75% of all dwellings, and almost 20% were rented.