A quarterly survey by two Chicago professors shows a dramatic increase in the number of "strategic defaults" where an underwater homeowner willingly defaults on his mortgage even though he can afford to make the payments.

An estimated 31% of foreclosures involved strategic defaults in March, compared to 22% a year ago, according to the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index. The survey is conducted by professors Paolo Sapienza of the Kellogg School of Management, and Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Subscribe Now

Access to a full range of industry content, analysis and expert commentary.

30-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Access coverage of the securitization marketplace, including breaking news updated throughout the day.