At the height of the housing bubble, there was one thing I could not understand; "how could people convince themselves that they could afford the mortgage payments that seemed to be at least as large as their monthly incomes". It was this, more than anything, that prevented me from buying a house. I just couldn't make sense of the numbers. I would look at my paycheck and then look at the estimated mortgage costs and local taxes. It didn't add up. However, it seems that other people weren't using much arithmetic.

(SGV Tribune) Now that some of the dire fears about adjustable-rate mortgages and subprime loans are proving true, lenders and nonprofit groups are rushing to come up with ways to slow down the defaults and foreclosures. Institutions behind these assistance programs say that a lot of homebuyers were duped or deceived into signing bad loans. The main goal, they say, should be to keep people in their homes.

But there's also a growing call from mortgage brokers and other market watchers for struggling buyers to take some personal responsibility for their decisions. After all, they say, nobody forced them to sign these loans. "We're going to give somebody a crutch all because they couldn't spend a day in a seminar to find out about the loan products, and now they're saying, `Nobody told me there was education,"' said Richard Pittman, director of housing and counseling at ByDesign Financial Solutions, a credit counseling nonprofit based in Commerce.

"Come on, get your paycheck out and look at it next to your loan statement. You didn't realize the $4,000-a-month payment was going to take 92 percent of your paycheck? ... There's a point to tough love, when you say this is a learning experience."