Industry NewsMortgage

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.After accounting for seasonal factors, the delinquency rate for mortgages on one- to four-unit properties stood at 10.06 percent, up from 9.47 percent at the end of 2009 and 9.12 percent a year ago. "The issue this quarter is that the seasonally adjusted delinquency rates went up while the unadjusted rates went down," said MBA Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann.Delinquency rates traditionally peak in the fourth quarter and fall in the first quarter, he said, and the question is whether the drop repres...