Richard Herring pointed to 1998 as the start of the real-estate bubble in the United States.
Until about 1998, you were making about as much on your house as on your treasury bill, as if you have invested in treasury bills. The appreciation started just about as interest rates went down... But it led to a circumstance where most of the people doing the business had not in their lifetime experienced a downturn in house prices.
And that in turn led to one of the unreasonable assumptions which underpinned the subprime crisis. It's also worth recalling the origins of the recession that began in 1998. Nouriel Roubini states it succinctly:
During the Asian crisis the yen weakened all the way to 147 to the US dollar by late August 1998; and the BoJ reduced its policy rate to 0.25% ... Then in August 1998 Russia defaulted ... and this default triggered a seizure of global financial markets as major players with levered position started to get margin calls, had to dump their assets to cover their margin calls and started to cover their yen carry trade shorts. LTCM then was hit by this liquidity seizure and avoided a near default in late September 1998 via a private sector bailout coordinated by the NY Fed.
The current liquidity crisis is to some degree an aftershock, an unintended consequence of the response to the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and 1998 Russian financial crisis.