“Though the numbers were what they were, much of it wasn’t real. “
You’re right, although saying so isn’t going to be popular.
In California in particular, the boom of the 2000s was equal to the amount of home equity withdrawal. It was a personal debt fueled boom.
Everyone here in SoCal thought their house had become an income generating machine.
House prices went up every year and my fellow Californians, displaying the sophistication of a Cargo Cult, knew that this would never come to an end. Since your house would always be worth more next year you would never have to pay the money back.
And while it’s mildly amusing to remember that that is what millions believed, you really have to marvel at the lenders who bought into it too.
Everybody in a position of authority was making big money and believed there would be no consequences for screwing up.