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I have very little sympathy for them. There are numerous titles out there, and have been for years, espousing the wisdom of buying a house that is not more than 3x one's annual gross household income with 20% down before buying, but people have been thumbing their noses at that, and ignoring sky-high, unsustainable valuations, and buying with 103% mortgages, and being complete buffoons for years.

I mostly agree, except for the "unsustainable" part. I've been hearing for over 30 years how home values in markets like San Francisco and Boston cannot be maintained at their levels. Clearly, they are sustainable.

While I agree in part, have you seen the kind of home you can get for 3x your basic salary in Silicon Valley? When I started here I made about 65k and we bought a house for 230k, made the payments no problem.
Sold the house after about 5 years for 460k and moved to Portland Or. Moved back this year, salary is up to 140k with all bonuses and stock bringing it closer to 200k. We bought a house for 850k. The house is 21 miles from work, takes me almost an hour to get there and is in a sketchy neighborhood with poor schools. I expect to make the payments no problem on top of sending our child to private school and making payments on a new car. We had to go with a no-doc loan because my salary history at the old job was not sufficient to get me the loan for the new house. We paid a slight interest rate premium because of that but didn't need to go subprime due to excellent credit. It could easily have been a subprime situation and we would still have no problem making the payments. So not all subprime mortgages are high risk, sometimes the situation just forces your hand.
On top of all that we're able to save about 40k/yr towards retirement, including company 401(k) match. It can be done.
Of course, maybe ya'll think I'm nuts :)

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