No. he's not kidding. Prior to the New Deal, the average home mortgage ran only 3-5 years, and yet 40% of Americans managed to own their own homes.
Read the whole thing; it's not long.
My favorite part is the conclusion:
On the other hand, I marvel that something that's only been around for 60 years or so -- my parents were adults and my older brothers were born or about to be born when long-term mortgages came into being! -- is for all intents and purposes portrayed as an immutable, inalienable entitlement, part of "the American Dream" from the get-go. When George Washington returned from the French and Indian Wars, the first thing he did was call Countrywide Financial's toll-free number to get an adjustable rate mortgage on Mount Vernon with 20% down, and if we can't all do the same thing on our 19th birthdays, the terrorists have won, etc.