I thought this item in our local paper was interesting:
It features two families that are underwater on their mortgages. One has chosen to walk on their home, the other is staying. The article states that the market here peaked in June of 2006. To give you an idea about our situation, we bought in April of 2006. In other words, we basically paid as much as was humanly possible on our condo.
We have no intentions of walking away from our house, but sometimes, I'm not going to lie, I think about it. Because let's face it, we're stuck with this thing forever. I looked up similar condos in my town, and estimate that we're now $65,000 underwater. Financially, it's stupid to stay. Ethically, it's wrong to go.
The comments are even more fascinating than the article. The family who walked is getting totally villified, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Does it make sense for them to keep paying on something that's depreciated $100,000? They're taking the credit hit, and the bank gets the house, just like the mortgage contract says. But, there is something that feels icky about it.
When it comes down to it, I'm kind of too lazy to consider this idea. Repairing my credit would take work, trying to figure out how to rent a house while walking away from the condo seems hard, and my payment is low enough that it just seems like it'd be more trouble than it was worth. We pay about $90 more a month than we'd pay to rent a comparable 2 bedroom (and then $165 in HOA fees).
So yeah, we're staying. But these articles still make me sad. It's a sucky situation to be in, and I feel for everyone involved.