I have been vocal in my belief that this "sub-prime" malaise goes beyond the sub-prime market and includes good-hardworking people who had to be shoe horned into mortgage products in order to afford a home.
To prove the point, it would be an interesting study for a financial journalist (and in fact, I might just send this prompt to the WSJ) to take 5 states (e.g. CA, VA, FL, TX, MI) where there is a stated problem and pick perhaps 5 counties in various parts of the state that have different housing/population demographics---hot v. cold spots if you will. Then, they ought to look at the average home price in 2000 v 2005 compared to the average qualifying earnings to purchase a home in 2000 v 2005. In fact, a wonderful barometer would be to conduct a P/E ratio--price of the home divided by annual, qualifying earnings. (I've written about this on Barry Ritholtz's blog, but still have not seen anyone do it).
One doesn't have to be a genius to make a few guesses about what the data will show for this simple reason: Incomes have not gone up all that much from 2000 to 2005 BUT we know that housing prices have gone up (in some areas) quite a bit. Accordingly, I wince at the unfair characterization of these people whose lending status went from prime to subprime just because they could not qualify for a bloated housing price.
I may nose around to find out if I can find any comparative statistics. I did find some information here .