Ailing Mortgages Hit Record 15% In Q4 Amid Signs Of Hope and Consumer Confidence Tumbled In February

The percentage of loans that were in foreclosure or behind at least one payment hit 15.02%, the most since MBA’s records began in 1972. Foreclosures will likely stay high in 2010, analysts say.

But there were signs that the crisis has peaked. “We are likely seeing the beginning of the end of the unprecedent ed wave of mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures that started with the subprime defaults in early 2007,” said Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s chief economist, in a statement.

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The overall delinquency rate fell 17 ticks to 9.47%. Rates fell for prime, subprime and FHA loans.

Also, the 30-day delinquency rate fell 16 ticks to 3.63%. That short-term rate usually spikes in Q4 as heating bills, gift buying and other factors spur some homeowners to miss payments, Brinkmann says. [Read the full article]

The Conference Board said Tuesday its Consumer Confidence Index fell almost 11 points to 46 in February, down from a revised 56.5 in January. Analysts were expecting only a slight decrease to 55.

One gauge, measuring consumers’ assessment of current conditions, dropped to 19.4 from 25.2. That’s the lowest level since 1983. The other barometer, which measures their outlook over the next six months and had been rising since October 2009, fell to 63.8 from 77.3.

Stocks sold off on the weak confidence data. The Nasdaq fell 1.1%, the S&P 500 0.9% and the Dow 0.7% as of 10:49 a.m. EST.

The overall Consumer Confidence Index hit a historic low of 25.3 in February 2009 but then enjoyed a three-month climb to 54.8 in May, fueled by signs the economy might be stabilizing. Since then, it has been mired in a narrow range, dropping as low as 47, as rising unemployment took a toll, before climbing again for a three-month stretch. [Read the full article]

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