Perhaps the author should have provided references for statements and claims; e.g., “The growth in housing prices in Greece between 1996 and 2008 was only 80 percent compared with 170 percent in Ireland, for instance.” I beg to differ; see bottom references (however problematic—see relevant notes and texts at the Bank of Greece website—to measure in Greece, this 80 percent doesn’t seem or even feel right, big enough). But even if it indeed is or were “only 80percent” this would hardly constitute a small growth; “only” imo should have been parenthesised. The growth in dwelling prices, mortgages, private sector credit-loans, i.e., private sector debt in general, etc in Greece since the (late) nineties has been huge; the aforementioned indicators may not have reached as a percent of GDP the wuthering heights of Ireland et al., but their growth has still been huge and higly important. Failing to provide this info, failing also to emphasise on external debt (moreover in practically a foreign currency), be it public or private or both, perpetuates imo the misleading popular picture that the state, the public-sector etc is the sole culprit of the Greek crisis; even by authors that clearly have no intention to do so; a short-ish, e.g., citation of balance of payments or of the loss of the currency devaluation ability, or more extended writing about the Siemens et al. scandals, is IMO hardly enough… Some references:
Primary (or secondary) sources available under the linked to Wikipedia graphs.