Yes but if it was a 100% mortgage and the value of the property has dropped, they're fecked.
yeah but are they? When people in the UK went into negative equity in the 1990s and the interest rates rose to 15% a lot of people posted their keys back to the building societies. however even today those people who defaulted on their mortgages are still paying the bank for property they do not own.
Now in all fairness I do not know what would happen if a foreigner defaulted on a Polish mortgage though. However banks are notorious for passing on costs so they would simply increase the cost of arranging mortgages and increase the mortgage rates so that the rest of borrowers pay to 'sponsor' the losses from people who default.
in simplistic language the 'responsible' borrowers pay to sponsor the 'irresponsible' borrowers
one of the things that I really like about Polish banks is that if you have property worth 200,000 Euros and you want to secure a loan of 50,000 Euros the bank asks you how you are going to make the repayments. if you cannot prove that you can make the repayment, there is no way you will get the loan. In the UK, if you want to secure a loan on the property you can do it over the phone and get an instant answer. OK you will have to fill in a few forms later but the loan is agreed in principle over the phone in a matter of minutes because the bank knows that if you default on the repayments, they take your house. then the bank can make additional revenue out of your misery/stupidity for charging you a fortune for putting your house up for auction to pay the outstanding debt.
this is one of the reasons that I believe Poland will not suffer like the UK or Ireland as the banks here have not been completely irresponsible. I do not believe there is a Polish self-declaration mortgage. this is basically a product where you are encouraged to lie your head off about your earnings and the bank does not verify your salary, you just pay a higher rate of interest instead. if you find one please let me know :-)
Having said that a lot of the Brits that bought in Poland are completely mortgaged up the wazoo in the UK and took out massive loans to pay their deposits to buy in Poland.
they will be amongst the first casualties if the market takes a dip. they might not suffer themselves if they default on their mortgages, however, Polish families will probably have to pick up the tab for them. Banks hate to lose money