While the nations delinquency rate declined in March, to 4.0 percent from 4.3 percent a year earlier, CoreLogic notes that 21 states and 166 of the largest metropolitan areas experienced small increases in delinquencies on an annual basis. The delinquency rate includes all home loans that are 30 days or more past due, including those in foreclosure.  The share of mortgages that were 30 to 59 days past due - considered early-stage delinquencies - was 2% in March 2019, up from 1.8% in March 2018.

The March numbers continue a year-long trend in which the overall delinquency rate each month has been lower than during the 4.7 percent average during the pre-crisis period of 2000 through 2006.  Delinquencies tend to be seasonal, and the highest March rate was in 2010 at 11.1 percent.

Other measures also continued to decline. The serious delinquency rate - defined as 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure - was 1.4 percent in March compared to 1.9 a year earlier, and was also below the pre-crisis period when it averaged 1.5 percent.

The foreclosure inventory rate - meaning the share of mortgages in some stage of foreclosure - was 0.4 percent, down from 0.6% a year earlier and the lowest for any March in at least 20 years.  Rising home prices have led to record amounts of home equity, reducing the risk of foreclosure.  The 60- to 89-day rate was unchanged on an annual basis.

In addition to delinquencies, CoreLogic tracks the rate at which loans move from one stage of delinquency to another.  Loans transitioned from current to the 30-day bucket at a rate of 0.9 percent, up from 0.7 percent a year earlier but well below rates during the housing crisis. The 30- to 60-day transition rate was 13.4 percent compared to 11.7 percent, and the 60- to 90-day rate increased from 20.6 percent to 22.4 percent.

CoreLogic's Chief Economist Dr. Frank Nothaft discounted the localized increases in delinquencies and higher transition rates. He said, "The increase in the overall delinquency rate in 42% of states most likely indicates many Americans were caught off guard by their expenses in early 2019. A strong economy, labor market and record levels of home equity should limit delinquencies from progressing to later stages."