A shock poll from mortgage financier Fannie Mae revealed nearly nine in 10 Americans believe it’s unacceptable to stop making payments on an underwater mortgage.
That includes seven in 10 who are currently delinquent on their own mortgages.
However, 15 percent said financial distress would make stopping mortgage payments on an underwater mortgage acceptable.
And both delinquent and current borrowers are more than twice as likely to seriously consider stopping their payments if they know someone else who has defaulted.
So it sounds like a lot of respondents may be dodging the truth, or at least giving the standard “I wouldn’t do it” survey response.
But it seems as if everyone would consider strategic default if the proverbial seal was broken, whether that’s their neighbor defaulting first or another trusted party endorsing it.
After all, it is believed that more than a quarter of mortgage defaults are strategic, especially when negative equity exceeds 15 percent.
The survey, conducted between December 12 and January 12, was based on responses from 3,451 Americans aged 18 and older.
Respondents included current homeowners, mortgage borrowers, renters, and hundreds of underwater borrowers.
It included questions related to housing, the economy, renting, challenges facing homeowners, and more.
Nearly two-thirds think it’s a good time to buy a house, and 31 percent think it’s a very good time to buy, matching sentiment seen in 2003 before the bubble grew out of control.