The market collapse commenced in 2007, and gained momentum in 2008, maximizing its velocity and strength in the 1st quarter of 2009. This collapse was not the result of the indicators that we hear bandied about so often in the mainstream media. It was not borne from stagnating GDP, slow retail sales, lots of snow nor high unemployment. As a matter of fact, all of these factors were literally on fire in 2006 through 2007. The market collapsed because the overinflated real asset market had finally reached its peak. Since this overinflated market was financed primarily with debt, upon its deflation accelerated destruction of equity and capital commenced. Once you lose 10% of market value on a cash investment, you lose 10% of your equity as well. If you are levered 2x, that 10% market drop equated to a 20% wealth loss. 5% downpayment housing deals, equate to deeply negative equity values at a 10% market correction. So, if one were to sit back and realize that 125% LTV (or a negative 25% down) housing deals didn't just exist, they were relatively plentiful by historical standards, and derivative structures allowed certain corporate players (ex. the monoline insurers) to employ 90x+ leverage, there is no wonder what happened when the housing market dropped 36% and the CRE market dropped 42%. Believe me, dear readers. They are not finished falling.