Nearly one-quarter of U.S. mortgages are “underwater,” i.e. the houses are worth less than the balance of their loans.
Underwater on their mortgages and angry at banks, more borrowers are choosing to hand over the keys, even if they can afford the payments. Wynn Bloch has always dutifully paid her bills and socked away money for retirement. But in December she defaulted on the mortgage on her Palm Desert home, even though she could afford the payments.