Yes, we're total idiots over here, spending about half of what the mortgage payment would be in order to allow the long-term problems of the house remain someone else's financial nightmare
My (German) husband and I were seriously considering buying a house soon after we married. However, we noticed something funny about our small city: the same sorts of houses that we felt we had a sufficient downpayment for (under 250,000 EUR) were renting for well under 1,000 EUR/month. The half of a big duplex (with good-sized back yard) we ended up renting is 700 EUR/mo - similar ones with smaller lots are on the market for over 200,000 EUR.
200,000 / 8400 = 23.8 years, and that would take talking the sellers down about 10-15%.
This is part of why even well-off Germans sometimes rent for years. The other factors are how sluggish the real estate market is even in good times and traditionally, very high down-payment requirements. I, an American, thought I was cautious wanting to put in at least 20% - he wouldn't consider anything less than 40% to be safe. I still can't work out why this is a good deal for my landlady as opposed to selling the house for 170,000 EUR, but if it works for her, wonderful - it's sure working great for us!
Note to my fellow Americans: tenants in Germany have far stronger occupancy rights than do ones in the US. My landlady would have to give us 3 months' notice if she wanted the house back, and "I want to charge higher rent" is not sufficient grounds. It's an even longer notice period if we're in for at least five years.
Our food:shelter ratio is about 1:3, because although we don't go out to eat much (too time-consuming!), we like to cook with really nice ingredients.