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Their Shoes Were Made for Walking

And that’s what strapped home owners are planning to do, according to the NYT and WSJ. The flagships are hopping on board the next phase of the mortgage crisis: home owners abandoning over-mortgaged houses. And I’m glad to see them covering this important issue, first brought to my attention by our middle class finance reporter Mary Kane last week in her two-part series on walk aways and emerging exurban ghost towns.

She’s been way out in front on the widening story of the subprime crash — from reporting on local efforts to fight off blight to speculators (like former Gov. Jim Florio) profiting off unpaid property taxes.

She’s also been first to offer important context for what this disaster means in America:

The fact that owners [in Washington exurbs] and in other overpriced markets around the country are willing and even eager to give their homes to the bank at a huge loss, or that they might consider walking away, is proof that the mortgage crisis has altered in significant ways the long-held American dream of home ownership. It’s cast a pall on the once-reverent relationship between buyer and house, a shift in attitude likely to have effects for years to come, even after the housing market eventually shakes off its excess inventories and returns to normal, whatever that might come to encompass.

Looking forward to your next piece, Mary.

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