Deregulation Created the Subprime Mortgage Crisis
The mid-1990s saw an economic revival. What incited this activity was a technology boom like no other. It created a new era of electronics and computing. There were cell phones, desktop and laptop computers, the Internet, electronic games, flat panel TVs and major advances in business software and efficiencies. The housing industry was a big benefactor of this new economy. Home prices began to rise again by 1996. The rate of home ownership during the 1970s, 1980s and the first half of the 1990s averaged 64.4 percent. The rate began to rise in 1995, peaking at 69.2 percent in 2004. New housing rebounded. The economic turnaround brought California -- hit especially hard by the last housing recession -- along with the rest of the nation, out of recession and into a technology boom era. California had the best housing year in a decade in 1997. The housing boom lasted through the first half of the first decade of the new century. Following that, the worst recession since the Depression battered the country. The housing market fell apart, and the foreclosure debacle of the 2000s made the situation far worse than the 1990s housing bust. There was not a large quantity of subprime mortgages and home equity loans maxing out people's equity and expenses in the 1990s. The subprime mortgage industry totaled $35 billion in 1994, and the number rose to $330 billion in 2003 and $600 billion in 2006. Prices plunged to an unprecedented level, as people could not afford to pay their mortgages. As home prices spiraled downward, people owed more than their homes were worth. Housing market practices were a major cause of the economic turmoil of the decade. It took ten years for the hardest hit housing areas of the 1990s to recover; it will take even longer for some areas to recover from the housing and economic crisis of the 2000s. The lack of regulation caused the subprime mortgage crisis—and the worst financial crisis since the...
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