by Bill McBride on 11/21/2009 09:22:00 PM
Saturday, November 21, 2009
From Lew Sichelman at the LA Times: Owners' willingness to 'strategically default' on loans depends largely on how far underwater they are (ht Ann)
Most of the LA Times article is based on the paper by Guiso, Sapienza and Zingales that I covered in June: Moral and Social Constraints to Strategic Default on Mortgages (pdf)
Sichelman adds some comments from real estate agents on the ethics of strategic defaults:
Nellie Arrington of Long & Foster Real Estate in Columbia, Md., says it is "morally wrong, legally wrong and just plain wrong" for an owner to walk away from a mortgage he can afford simply because the balance exceeds the value of the underlying property.And on the other side:
Bob Hunt of Keller Williams O.C. Coastal Realty in San Clemente says the moral duty to protect your family outweighs the moral duty to repay the loan.
"Promise keeping is not the highest moral value," said Hunt, who before his real estate career taught ethics and logic at the University of Redlands. "If I promised to lend you my gun and you are now in a clearly dangerous psychotic stage, breaking my promise would be the right thing to do, not the wrong thing."