Credit: Beware of the Walkaways

Homeowners of a new and unattractive breed are plaguing the Federal Housing Administration these days. Known as "the walkaways," they are people who find themselves unable to meet their mortgage payments—and to solve the problem simply move out their belongings at night, drop their house key in the mailbox and disappear. In West Texas, largely because of walkaways, the Federal Government currently has 1,800 repossessed houses on its hands. In seven South Florida counties, walkaways have abandoned 3,000 FHA-guaranteed homes in the past twelve months.

Because it underwrites low-cost housing for high-risk groups, the FHA's problems are particularly acute. But...

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