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Disturbing trend: The ones who are walking away

There is an assumption that borrowers with good credit histories will keep paying. If that changes, there could be another wave of losses for the financial system…if the banks are not honoring their promises, why should the homeowners?”

Foreclosures spawn new attitude to ownership

Jeff Horton has a job, two cars and money in the bank. Yet, he stopped paying his mortgage a year ago. With shoddy documentation by mortgage lenders now delaying foreclosures across the US, Jeff thinks he will continue living for free for at least another six months, and probably longer.

The 33-year-old IT specialist is keen to put an end to his disastrous home purchase that will likely leave his bank with a loss of at least $100,000. Until the bank actually makes him leave, he will keep living in the Orlando house, and pocket the $2,200 he used to pay on his monthly mortgage. “I’m not stupid,” he says. “I will live for free until the bank takes over the house.”

Shasta Gaughen, an anthropologist living in California, stopped paying her mortgage in February. She has no idea when her home will actually be taken over. “I have been able to save significantly,” she says. “Every penny that was supposed to go to my mortgage went into savings, around $1,200 a month.”

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