A recent WSJ blog post by Phil Isso includes this interesting map (from NY Fed economists Jaison Abel and Richard Deitz) on the variation of housing boom and bust across the U.S. We know that aggregation is a problem, but the economic news (and a mountain of analysis) is mainly about national aggregates. The actual story is about regional differences. High amenity places suffer from high demand and, as a consequence, tougher regulations. Both forces explain high prices. And high prices are most at risk when bubbles burst. These simple thoughts pretty much explain the various colors of dots on the map.
Yes, there were policy mistakes compounded by errors of judgment all over the place. But these were consequential because of the regional differences mentioned. There is always more to the story than the cliches about actions in Washington DC and New York.