Almost half of Nevadans say it’s OK to default on a mortgage
Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
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In foreclosure-wracked Nevada, residents are divided on whether it’s OK to willingly default on a mortgage loan. And many people who lost their homes during the recession say they still might buy another house.
Nevadans are “frustrated but oddly optimistic” about home ownership, a new report out today by the Nevada Association of Realtors found.
Almost half -- 45 percent -- said there is nothing wrong with “strategic default,” in which homeowners who are financially capable of paying a mortgage choose not to make payments instead. But an equal number disagreed, saying homeowners have a legal and ethical obligation to pay their mortgage if they can.
The report shows “how polarizing this issue has become,” Association President Blane Johnson said in a statement. He also said it shows that strategic default has become more socially acceptable.
The report also found that 55 percent of Nevadans believe government should play a role in addressing the foreclosure problem. However, only 9 percent of those experiencing foreclosure -- and 10 percent of all Nevadans surveyed -- said foreclosure-prevention programs have actually helped.
Meanwhile, the association said Nevadans remain relatively optimistic about home ownership. According to the report, 26 percent of people who have faced foreclosure said they are at least somewhat likely to buy another home within two years.