68 Million Americans Believe It's OK to Strategically Default on Mortgages

68 Million Americans Believe It's OK to Strategically Default on Mortgages

Nearly 68 million U.S. adults (32 percent) believe homeowners should be able to strategically default on their mortgages without any consequences, according to recent survey results. The survey of 1,026 U.S. adults, conducted online by JZ Analytics last month also found that 28 million Americans (13 percent) would likely strategically default on a mortgage and 36 million Americans (17 percent) know someone who has strategically defaulted on a mortgage.

"Our research into the consumer opinion of the economic crisis of 2008 found alarming results," says John Zogby, senior analyst at JZ Analytics. "What jumped out is how many Americans feel it is acceptable for homeowners to walk away from a mortgage and go into foreclosure. If Americans carry on with that mindset, it will continue to cause problems as the economy undergoes a slow recovery."

A strategic default is when a homeowner, who has the financial ability to make the payment on a house that is worth less than is owed on the mortgage, decides to walk away and let the house go to foreclosure. Some of the survey respondents feel homeowners should be able to strategically default on mortgages because they believe the mortgage market has been a scam for many years, built on false promises that took advantage of people that didn't understand what was happening and they never had a chance of paying the mortgage off.

Other Key Findings:

• Stretch the Truth—The survey found that 36 million Americans (17 percent) would exaggerate personal information to obtain credit.
• The New Normal—According to the survey, 77 million Americans (36 percent) believe it's socially acceptable to have a poor credit score.
• Fear of Identity Theft—The survey also discovered that 75 million Americans (35 percent) are more afraid of becoming an identity theft victim than five years ago.

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