Short sale was considered a less painful choice because it stops an imminent foreclosure and it is some kind of face saving devise which is not as Draconian as a foreclosure. Also, it does not make much noise and is not very public also. Homeowners can also stay free for some few months and without the plethora of calls from bill collectors. However, this is the end of it. New York Times has a very good article on this matter. Please read it and make your own judgment.