It would seem that the payment of a mortgage is a relatively recent activity historically. But lending has a long history, and may be as old as writing. For example, there is evidence of lending in Mesopotamia for grain purchases as far back as 3000 B.C.E.  As to real estate, from at least 400 B.C.E. the ancient Greeks made “home” loans, charging 15 – 18% interest on the amounts borrowed.