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Is Walking Away from A Mortgage Ever OK?

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One Doctor Asks the ME-P

The scourge of foreclosures has brought a lot of moral issues to light. So, Dr. Jones from Las Vegas asks, is it OK to simply stop paying your mortgage?

The answer you get depends on who you ask and what the circumstances are. If you’ve never thought much about this question, you may soon. There are so many mortgages going into foreclosure that it may soon happen to you or someone you know. And even those who don’t go through foreclosure may still be vulnerable to terrible mortgage conditions.

How Bad Is the Foreclosure Rate?

The epidemic of foreclosures is worse than you would believe. Since 2005, there have been 2.5 million foreclosures. In July of 2010, the foreclosure rate went up 6 percent over the same month a year earlier.

Are You Underwater?

If you owe more on your house than your house is actually worth, you may feel like you’re underwater. With excess borrowing against equity and falling home prices, this situation has reached epidemic proportions. It isn’t just a few people in this situation or even a few million people. One quarter of all families are underwater, with negative equity in their own homes.

The states with the worst numbers of people underwater are Florida, Wisconsin, Nevada, California and Arizona. By far, the worst state for this situation is Nevada. In Nevada, 65 percent of borrowers owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth.

  • What should homeowners do in this situation?
  • Should they continue to pay?
  • Or, do you think they should they simply chuck it all and stop all payments?
  • Would you?

What Do People Think About Walking Away From a Mortgage?

If you have already formed an opinion about whether it’s OK to ditch a mortgage or not, you’re not alone in being opinionated. Everyone has an opinion on this, from renters to homeowners and from the young to the old.

In total, 25 percent of renters think it’s okay to walk away from a mortgage. Homeowners aren’t as hip to ditching, though. Among those who own homes, only 17 percent think it’s OK to stop paying.

Is It a Moral Issue?

Some homeowners believe that whether or not to pay is a moral issue. Their own ethics come into play, telling them that someone who signed a contract should see it through, regardless of how home prices have fallen. The mortgage industry loves that—they are really playing up the idea that paying is a moral obligation.

Assessment

What people believe about this issue often comes down to their age and gender.

To see what age groups and genders believe it’s OK to walk away, review the above graphic. And, men and women aren’t as far apart on this issue as you may think. Many people of both genders believe that if your financial circumstances are dire, it may be OK to ditch that mortgage. What about medical professionals? Do you agree with your peers? Click on the graphic to see.

Conclusion

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3 Responses

  1. Is the mortgage tax break in danger?

    http://money.msn.com/home-loans/article.aspx?post=df063943-6501-4fcb-8fe0-81fda0dfe450

    It’s hard for federal budget-cutters to ignore the tens of billions of dollars Congress could save by eliminating the taxpayer mortgage interest deduction.

    Jarrod

    Like

  2. Time to Pay Off the Mortgage?

    The move could offer a simple way to cut risk and boost returns, but many financial advisors don’t see it that way.

    http://www.financial-planning.com/fp_issues/2013_10/should-clients-pay-off-their-mortgage-2686522-1.html?ET=financialplanning:e15474:86235a:&st=email&utm_source=editorial&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=FP_Weekend__110113

    Here’s why they should.

    Alan

    Like

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