Of course they were, that's the point. That was the crappy economic situation that generation lived under; it was worse than today's, at least from a home-buying perspective.
And again, you still don't have any actual evidence for your other idyllic depictions.
It's bizarre that so many people have adopted the "rising house prices = good" mentality, since housing is something on which people naturally have a short position (a need). Renters are obviously short housing, single-home owners are theoretically neutral (they own housing equal to their need) but actually short as well, since they're paying real estate costs every time they shop. So 90+% of us are actually in a short position with regard to housing; our lives get better if real estate becomes cheaper. The important, high-value land is held by a few.
This is why it's odd to hear people rage against inflation or rising gas prices but cheer on housing bubbles. They have the perception that rising energy prices benefit "other people" but that they somehow are making money when real estate gets expensive-- and unless they own a lot of it, this isn't true.
In New York, housing is a source of widespread and ongoing misery. If you lose your job, you're truly fucked because rents can easily exceed $2000 for a studio. Many apartments lack basic first-world amenities in-building laundry and dishwasher because there is no need to include them when rents and prices are so ridiculously high. It's very difficult to save money here because a class of fucking parasites (most of whom don't even live in New York) are sucking everyone dry.
Land ownership is the justification for entrenched aristocracy and, in less-enlightened times, slavery. It always has been, and probably always will be. It's a concept that exists for a purpose that 90% of us would find distasteful. This is also why Americans have such a fetish for homeownership; throughout most of history, those who did not own land were at a social level comparable to slaves or serfs. What they don't realize is that if they take out mortgages on bad terms, they're assuming a speculative position while not gaining real ownership of the property.
I frankly think it's time for aggressive land reform, and I think private land ownership (with exceptions for small, single-house plots) needs to be retired as soon as we can build the infrastructure to replace it.