Even some buyers who can afford their mortgages are opting to quit paying because they owe too much, Speronis says. With prices falling, some amazing deals are now on the market, and owners figure they can better themselves by purchasing another home and walking away from their existing properties, she says.
These people are a staple of housing stories, but it's really hard to know how many people are just abandoning their properties because they figure there's no reason to be stuck with negative equity if they don't have to. I'm sure these people exist, and I don't have any problem with what they're doing. Once upon a time for various reasons we could have seen the 30 year fixed mortgage as part of a special kind of social contract, but once the exotic mortgages and dishonest lending practices proliferated that got chucked out the window.
Still I wish reporters doing these stories would try to actually get some hard numbers or evidence of people walking away, rather than just passing on unsupported claims of their existence.