Loan data sends mixed signals

Improvement in delinquency rate may only be seasonal

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A total of 14.01 percent of outstanding mortgages were at least one payment overdue or in foreclosure at the end of March, the Mortgage Bankers Association said today — an astounding number in a normal economy, but an improvement from 15.02 percent at the end of December.

Seasonal factors may account for some or all of the improvement, however. The non-seasonally adjusted delinquency rate decreased from 10.44 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 9.38 percent in the first quarter.