An alarming number of homeowners see strategic default as a viable option should their home continue to depreciate. Almost half of the homeowners participating in an online poll from Housing Predictor say they will walk away from their mortgage obligation if falling home values persist.
Five years into the housing downturn, and Housing Predictor found that 47 percent of those surveyed would intentionally stop making their mortgage payments even if they could afford to in order to get out from under the sinking investment of home-sweet-home.
The number of mortgage borrowers open to strategic default has risen sharply since Housing Predictor last surveyed public opinion on the issue roughly a year-and-a-half ago. In October 2010, 36 percent of homeowners participating in the poll said they would throw in the towel should housing prices continue to drop.
Housing Predictor says the foreclosure crisis, falling home prices, and lingering doubts that the value of homes will increase over most homeowners’ lifetimes are contributing to the increase in mortgage holders who say they will walk away.
FICO estimates strategic defaults to be more than a $20 billion problem annually.