The Mortgage Bankers Association news is still not good- By: John Smith

Description : While the non-seasonally adjusted percentage of mortgages with at least 1 payment past due across the States was down 1% year-on-year to 14% for the first quarter of 2010 according to Mortgage Bankers Association, those going through proscription hit a high at 4.6 % seasonally adjusted compared to 3.8% that time last year.

The Bankers Association Survey is extensive in that it embraces the records of over 44 million mortgages on one to four bedroom homes – this is 85% of America’s open primary housing loans

“The issue this quarter is that the seasonally adjusted delinquency rates went up while unadjusted rates went down,” Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s chief economist, commented while speaking at the news release. “Delinquency rates traditionally peak in the fourth quarter and fall in the first quarter and we saw that first quarter drop in the data. The question is whether the drop represents anything more than a normal seasonal decline or a more fundamental improvement.”

While the traditional December peak comes about a result of families topping up on winter fuel and facing up to Christmas holiday expenses, the corresponding New Year drop is often aided and abetted by tax refunds that become available during the first quarter of the year.

“Most importantly, the normal seasonal drop is coming right at the point where we believe delinquencies could potentially be declining and the problem for the statistical models is determining which is which,” Brinkmann added.

With approximately 4.2 million of the Mortgage Bankers Association mortgages seriously delinquent at the time of the report, the rate of lis pendens or first foreclosure notices rose slightly to 1.23%.

“Compared to last year, delinquencies are worse, but compared to last quarter the news is more encouraging,” remarked a senior financial analyst for another leading financial institution. “But the jury is still out as to whether we’re going to see a sustained decline in delinquencies,” he said.

What then lies ahead for America’s embattled households underwater?

The Mortgage Bankers Association chief economist is expecting a gradual improvement in delinquency as 2010 unfolds, although he is at pains to stress that a lot depends on the nation’s economic growth, and thinks that the process was helped along thus far this year by gradually improving unemployment.

“If mortgage delinquencies are not yet clearly improving, it also appears they are not getting worse,” Brinkmann said at the report release. “However, a bad situation that is not getting worse is still bad… ”

That’s chilling news for an America that just last week was thinking there were signs of economic spring ahead. Seems its still time to batten down the hatches?

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