I know literally nothing about home finance. I suspect most people don't - that's why we pay people to understand it for us. This whole housing crises, from the little I've read, seems to stem from a wave of lenders who created a devious new brand of mortgage that had such low monthly payments that the principle was never actually paid down. Then the rug started coming undone and it's taken the whole economy with it. Fill in the blanks.
But at the same time, there's something to be said for common sense. If I were a single parent of three children whose main income came from running a home day care center, I would probably be a little suspicious if someone told me I could afford to buy a $545,000 house. That's more than half a million dollars - rudimentary math should probably tell you something is fishy. But now she's waiting to be evicted and, of course, it's entirely someone else's fault.
When the true story of this comes out, I'm sure predatory lending will be the main culprit. But how did so many people allow themselves to get THIS hoodwinked?