First of all, I will answer your question: No, the great recession did not seem to affect India. I'm not a world economist so I can't adequately explain why, on a global level. On the local level, people just don't have anything to lose. Many are already starving and most are without proper healthcare. They have no money, so they have no money to lose in investments. It can't get any worse. Worse is death from starvation or exposure, both of which still happen to people in India regularly.
Get the picture? Probably not. I've realized that is impossible to describe unless one has experienced it. Just think hunger.
How did the great recession impact us? Friends were suddenly called back to the U.S. because of the failing economy. (It's very expensive for a company to keep expatriates.) We were not. We lost our business airfare and got downgraded to economy. That's it. It impacted us very little.
That's not to say it didn't worry us, but we lived in a sort of bubble, with our own problems (like regular electrical fires, electrified water, snakes,bomb threats, etc. etc.)
When we moved back, it hit us full in the face. The rules about credit, credit cards, and mortgages had all changed. What was once touted as smart financial strategy (as in revolving credit to gain airline points or cash back rewards) was suddenly taboo. A good credit score was a much higher number. Any - and I do mean ANY - little ding on your credit report was grounds for dismissal of your mortgage application. Never mind that you had always paid utility bills and house payments on time, and it was a medical expense that was in question; never mind that it wasn't your "fault". There was no leniency.
We went through a stressful time as we re-adjusted to this. Repeated requests from the underwriters about where our downpayment came from, why we had such a big revolving balance on our credit card, and if we were affiliated with terrorist organizations (as if!!), were irritating. All of these questions were directly related to our expatriate lifestyle. On paper, the expatriate package made it look like we actually took a pay cut to come back, but in reality, we didn't. The benefits that the company had to quantify in cash for tax purposes were never available to us in cash. It was very frustrating and hard not to take personally. It was also a lot of extra work to get letters from different sources stating what actually happened.
It came to a head at the closing, where I nearly went postal when I found out that our mortgage officer still had us marked "non-US citizen" on our application. I had asked her to change our status three times, and she never did. It was one of those times where you THINK that your home culture does things better, but they DON'T, and her error cost me a lot of energy and unnecessary tension. No wonder they were calling and wanting to trace our downpayment funds to the beginning of time! I still get angry thinking about it. I hate stupid clerical errors that make such a difference in life!
But, all's well that ends well. We go the mortgage and the house. I would just encourage anyone who is coming back to allow extra time, and extra patience, for the mortgage process. There is no more easy money....which is good. But the process itself has become much more painful, and what was once a good idea may not be any more.