The ECB Monthly Bulletin of October 2013 has a box named ‘Stylised Facts of Money and Credit over the Business Cycle’. On page 20 they write:
The strong relationship between household loan growth and the business cycle is largely due to loans for house purchase, which are the main component of household loans. Loans for house purchase exhibit a strong correlation with real GDP growth and lead the cycle slightly, by one quarter on average (see Chart D).
This connects quite nicely with the idea of private deficit spending having replaced public deficit spending as the main driver of growth (not that government deficits were zero). The build-up in household debt in the countries with a real estate boom was unsustainable , since households do face a budget constraint whereas normally sovereign governments do not. Only when a central bank refuses to cooperate a government might encounter a budget constraint, as was the case in Greece. With falling house prices in the euro zone as we have seen them in the last couple of years a recovery via (another) real estate bubble seems unlikely, as data from the European Commission show: