A starter home in NJ is now about $300,000. If the bubble never happened that would be between $100-150k. For those buyers without equity from a pre-bubble house, home ownership is not that affordable. Most everywhere in the country the cost of real estate is 2-4 times what it would be if the bubble never happened. 50% of my income goes toward my condo - when there isn't an assessment - and 65-75% when there is an assessment. And I bought because it was cheaper than rent in my area. If only the government stayed out of our housing business "helping" people afford houses they couldn't afford.