Industry NewsMortgage

Have ‘strategic defaults’ peaked?

Borrowers with 'super-prime' credit more likely to walk away

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A study of borrowers who could afford to continue paying their mortgages but chose a "strategic default" because they owed more than their home was worth suggests the practice peaked at the end of 2008.But strategic defaults won't be going away anytime soon, and are suspected to be motivation for one out of every five mortgage delinquencies during the second quarter of 2009, new research from Experian and Oliver Wyman shows.The most recent data, from the first half of 2009, suggests there were 355,000 strategic defaults during that period. But the two consecutive quarterly declines from fourth-quarter 2008 point to a trend reversal.Data from the second half of the year must be analyzed before that can be confirmed, Oliver Wyman partner Peter Carroll said in a press release.Real estate information aggregator CoreLogic has estimated that at the end of 2009, 11.3 million homes were worth less than what their owners owed on their mortgage.About 24 percent of all residential prope...