From one of Andrew's readers:

I work as a credit analyst for a big bank. I work in a call center and take calls from people who would like to lower their interest rates or increase their credit card limits.  Yesterday, I talked to a man in California who for the past five years worked as a "sandwich artist" at Subway.  His salary--and his only source of income?  $18,000 per year.  His recently foreclosed mortgage?  $380,000.

The mortgage was individual, meaning no one else was legally or, more importantly, financially responsible for it.  He had no down payment for the mortgage.  The down payment was an additional $70,000 mortgage loan, also foreclosed. 

Alas, from everything I've read (and some of the things I've reported myself), this person was pretty typical.

--Noam Scheiber