MSNBC: Strategic Default?

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A survey last year by two Chicago-area finance professors, Paola Sapienza at Northwestern University and Luigi Zingales at the University of Chicago, found that roughly three out of 10 mortgage defaults in 2010 were by homeowners who could afford to make their payments, up from 22 percent in 2009.

“It’s a looming problem that’s in the shadows,” said Jason Kopcak, a mortgage trader at Cantor Fitzgerald who advises lenders on how to value the loans on their books. “It’s very worrisome to mortgage lenders.”

Researchers point to a number of forces that are driving borrowers to walk away from their mortgages. At the top of the list is the estimated 12 million homes that are underwater, meaning the owners owe more than they are worth.

…and you know who makes the money when you default?  Mortgage lenders.  Bankers.  Realtors.

If you own an asset, keep it.  If you can afford an asset, keep it.  This is basic Austrian economics, folks… doing this just means someone else snaps up your asset at a fraction of the cost, with the fees going back to the industry.

Remember that these guys want liquidity in the market.  Liquidity keeps them in business.  Everyone holding onto their homes until the storm blows over means fewer transactions.  Fewer transactions means fewer fees.

We’re in Year 4 of a five-year credit crisis, folks.  About eighteen months to go before Americans have paid off their credit cards, their ratings recover, and they feel better about spending again.  This isn’t rocket science, folks…


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