Here is a quote from a Bay area newspaper.
LIVING THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE / FORECLOSURES ON THE RISE: As the housing market softens, a combination of consumer naivete and aggressive lending means owners with subprime loans are increasingl: "Some observers say that many of those facing foreclosure should never have bought a house. To be sure, many consumers were seduced by the American dream of homeownership and so financially unsophisticated that they didn't apply due diligence. For Bay Area residents, more than a decade of consistently rising home prices may have led to a mob mentality of people overeager to jump into the real estate market, confident they would quickly gain equity.
On the other side of the equation, many lenders pushed the envelope. For example, Ameriquest Mortgage Co., the nation's leading subprime lender, is now paying $325 million to 725,000 borrowers nationwide for allegedly improper sales practices, including failing to adequately disclose home-loan terms and rates, refinancing borrowers into inappropriate loans, inflating home appraisals, and charging excessive fees and prepayment penalties.
Foreclosures have a much broader impact than just misfortune for the people who lose their homes. Within neighborhoods, they cause real estate prices to sink because houses on the verge of foreclosure or already foreclosed upon often are resold at lower prices. That, in turn, has a ripple effect on the"