Industry NewsOpinion

Walk-away homeowners are bitter pill for real estate

Perspective: Individual decisions trump collective consequences
Published on Feb 12, 2008

Divorce. Single parenthood. Debt. Bankruptcy. These and a long list of other social behaviors were once stigmatized and kept behind closed doors away from polite society, but are now, if perhaps not completely acceptable, at least openly tolerated and in some cases, even lauded as smart lifestyle choices. Must we now add foreclosure to the list? The evidence is still anecdotal, but news media have begun to report that some homeowners have decided to walk away from their homes just because they have no equity and, consequently, don't want to make their mortgage payments even though they could afford to do so. Not long ago, foreclosure was viewed as a shameful outcome of severe financial difficulties, but today, some homeowners seem almost proud of their decision to ditch their home and their mortgage payments. Consider Stephanie Valdez, a homeowner in Stockton, Calif., who told a "60 Minutes" correspondent that she and her husband saw no point in making the payments on their house beca...

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