Foreclosure proceedings in NY/NJ average 900 days, Florida 619 days and nationally 317 days. Largely due to Robo signing fiasco. Those that stop paying their mortgages, property taxes and assessments and squat out the process essentially have their own private tax free printing press to extract equity from their property. Foolish to short sale a NY property purchased for $1M/ 10% down / $10k monthly mortgage & tax expenses for $700K and take a $300K hit. Instead makes more sense for them to squat and extract their equity by defaulting. 30 months x $10K = $300K saved. Seems these squatters would make a 200% tax free return on their $100K investment plus live rent free. Sure their credit gets messed up but their next home can be purchased in cash with the $300K they saved. Rental properties seem to be ripe for strategic default. Not only do you save cash and extract equity by defaulting on the mortgage but you get to pocket the rent too.