Housing prices are a huge burden. Interesting that regionally people are also paying a large part of their income towards housing costs. As the crisis begins to reverberate locally things will really hit the fan.
[M]ore than 7.5 million people — almost 15 percent of American homeowners with a mortgage — are spending half of their income or more on housing costs, according to 2007 data released Tuesday by the. That is up from nearly 7.1 million the year before.
Traditionally, the government and most lenders consider a homeowner spending 30 percent or more of their income on housing costs to be financially burdened. But that definition now covers almost 38 percent of American homeowners with a mortgage — 19 million of them....
The data underscore the serious affordability problems in this country and highlight how the slightest financial problem — from a lost job to higher gas prices or insurance premiums — can put a family behind on their mortgages and into the realm of foreclosure....
In San Francisco, more than one out of five homeowners with a mortgage spends half or more of their income on housing.
That's also true in 13 more of the largest 100 metro areas analyzed by the Associated Press. Other places include California metro areas of Stockton, Los Angeles, Riverside, Oxnard-Thousand Oaks, San Francisco, and San Diego. Also in the top 10 are the Fort Myers, Sarasota and Orlando metro areas in Florida, and New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island.
Here is an interesting graph from the same article putting things into perspective -