Jon Riccardi frequently meets prospective home buyers who are in their mid-twenties and want to buy their first house. They have little to no savings for a down payment, already have credit card and student loan debt, and often are about to triple their housing costs by buying in the San Francisco Bay Area. Riccardi, VP of MPR Financial in Berkeley, Calif., knows they'll qualify for a loan, but he doesn't understand how they can afford it. Yet they're determined to get into the housing market. "It's aggressive," Riccardi said. "They just want to own a house." To some, that determination might suggest confidence in the housing market, but Riccardi thinks it's more a matter of herd mentality. Perhaps it could be irrational exuberance or a burning desire to own a home before prices get any ...
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