Troubled Homeowners Just Want to Walk Away

Charlotte, N.C.–Top executives from Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America and Wachovia–as well as executives at JPMorgan Chase in New York–have seen an increasing number buyers walk away from mortgages in recent months, The New York Times reported Friday.The homeowners are more interested in getting out of their current mortgages than in renegotiating or defaulting. Some companies, such as San Diego-based You Walk Away, surrenders homes to banks for a $995 cost to homeowners.Shrinking downpayments–last year, the median downpayment showed a 20 percent drop from 1989, according to a National Association of Realtors survey–and heavy borrowing to cover closing costs and other expenses have put homeowners in a risky position.The loans that prompted the real estate boom have changed the face of foreclosure–providing borrowers with a reason to abandon their mortgages, according to Todd Sinai, an associate professor of real estate at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.