One of the foundations of the American Dream has always been the hope of someday purchasing one's own home. In the past, however, it took nearly a lifetime of sacrifice before most people could afford to do so.

The first decade of the new millennium in America bore witness to a viral explosion in real estate investment, fueled by low mortgage rates and an abandonment of the equity markets. The nation created a new market overnight to continue the necessary growth in the United States and with one simple key: home mortgage debt.

In the blink of an eye, the American consumers, companies and investment markets shifted from an investment practice and equity-oriented philosophy that had characterized the dot-com era to a debt-fueled runaway train with no brakes.