A new report estimates that nearly one in five mortgage defaults through the first half of 2009 were “strategic,” where borrowers who appeared to have the capacity to pay their mortgages stopped doing so.The research follows on an earlier report by Experian and Oliver Wyman that first aimed to quantify the share of mortgage defaults that are “strategic.” Strategic defaulters are defined as those who miss six straight mortgage payments without missing multiple payments on auto loans and other consumer debts for the six months after they first fell behind on mortgage payments.The report finds that the share of borrowers who strategically defaulted through the first half of 2009 is unchanged from the end of 2008. Still, the absolute number of strategic defaults in the first half of 2009 increased 53% from the year ago period.
By Nick Timiraos, June 28, 2010, WSJ

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