$99 total (less than $1 per month) for a 2-unit condo, 2,352 Sq Ft
$300 total ($1 per month) for a duplex, 2,544 Sq Ft on 9 Acres
$4,900 total ($22 per month) for a 5-bedroom house, 2,165 Sq Ft
$7,900 total ($35 per month) for a 5-bedroom house, 2,974 Sq Ft on 0.14 Acres
$8,925 total ($39 per month) for a 5-bedroom house, 3,500 Sq Ft on 0.19 Acres
People paid real money for those homes, at one time. People probably spent the majority of their life savings on those homes, at one time. Now the homes are worth less than many used cars are worth.
Meanwhile, the median sale price for a home right here in Sacramento County dropped to $185,000 in November, down more than 50% from the August 2005 peak of $387,000. People spent their life savings on $387,000 houses in 2005, and more than half their life savings just melted away; they got nothing for it.
Granted, a large number of people buying homes in 2005 put no money down, and have paid so little since then that going into foreclosure won't cost them any more money than they would have spent on rent. But some minority of people saved their hard-earned money and paid 20% down, which in 2005 in this area would have been around $75,000. And then they paid responsibly each month after that, so now perhaps they've paid $150,000. But half the value of the home has melted away. That's $75,000 of some family's money, just carted away in the trash.
As a non-homeowner who would like to buy a house in a year or so, I'm happy to see prices coming down into more reasonable territory. But how can you not be disturbed by the thought of how much money some people lost during this bubble? And how many years sooner could I have bought a home myself, if the bubble had never happened at all?