Nearly one fourth of foreclosures in Nevada are strategic, meaning that homeowners could afford to make their mortgage payments but chose to walk away from their obligation, the Nevada Association of Realtors found.
A strategic default is often in the homeowner's best financial interest - many choose to stop making payments when they know they still owe more than their home is currently worth, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
"Oftentimes, people went to foreclosure because they had something happen in their life - the loss of a job or the death of a family member - but to see a high number discontinue paying even though they could ... it was pretty startling to see that," said Devin Reiss, vice president of the association's legislative committee.
Nevada has ranked first in the nation for foreclosure actions since January 2007, according to the news source, and some experts believe that strategic foreclosure prevalence is also higher in the state. The authors of the association's report claim that a snowball effect may be the explanation. As more people strategically default, house prices in the area may further drop, making strategic foreclosure an attractive option for those who are still making payments on their mortgage.