General Message Board
A nonrecourse mortgage is one where if you buy a home and the value of the loan falls below the value of the house you can't walk away without any liability. You are responsible to the lender for the difference.
In America, where populist post-Depression laws in many states have mandated loans be nonrecourse, the opposite is true. Americans can take out a mortgage more or less as a one-way bet. If you can't afford the repayments and can't refinance, you just send the keys back to the bank. Borrowers wipe their hands of liability. So, naturally, an American in financial strife will pay off debts that carry personal liability -- such as credit cards -- before they pay off their mortgage.