Let's see if I understand this: In portions of California a 1920 decade 2 bedroom, 1 bath 950 sq foot house is selling for $1.4 million, and 95 % financing is available. Congress has changed the bankruptcy laws, effective October 17, 2005 wherein mortgages cannot be automatically discharged via bankruptcy. Refinance contracts contain provisions waiving litigation protection for deficiency balances. (So, you cannot hand the keys of a home to the lender and walk away free of debt.)
Energy prices are going out of sight depleting after tax income and winter is on the horizon. .
What happens as interest rates climb in a serious way? I don't like what I see...
Debt has always been the way people do what this country and its tax code encourage -- that is, to buy the place you live.
I happen to agree with you that there are some VERY troubling numbers floating about, but don't work yourself up as if this were an internet bubble -- everybody but the young folks with a negligible sense of history knows that R.E. has some cyclicality [i.e., we're NOT in uncharted waters this time around.] ... For whatever reason, I think the economy had (and has) some zip in it, enough to keep its head above water even though there are some pretty dim bulbs running things (or not) in Wash. (or not).