Overall, the housing market is improving with foreclosure starts and delinquencies down from last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Delinquency Survey.

Delinquency rate for mortgage loans on residential properties remained flat from last quarter at its seasonally adjusted rate of 4.77% of all loans at the end of 2016’s first quarter, according to the survey, which is taken among more than 100 mortgage-lender members of the trade group.

The rate is down by 77 points from last year, and remains at its lowest since 2006, the MBA finds.

Delinquency rates include loans that are at least one payment past due.

"The delinquency rate of 4.77% has returned to typical pre-recession levels and is lower than the historical average of 5.4% for the time period from 1979 to the first quarter of 2016,” said Marina Walsh, MBA’s vice president of industry analysis.

Homes already in the foreclosure process are not included in the delinquency rate, according to the report.

Loans with foreclosure starts during the first quarter decreased to 0.35%, a 1 basis point decrease from last quarter and 10 basis points decrease from last year.  Foreclosure starts are at their lowest point since mid 2000.

“A total of 28 states and Washington, DC either saw decreases or no change in the foreclosure starts rate this quarter, while the remaining 22 states experienced increases in the foreclosure starts rate,” Walsh said. “Only two of these 22 states have strictly non-judicial processes in place.”

The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process at the end of the first quarter was 1.74%, a decrease of three basis points from last quarter and 48 basis points from last year. The foreclosure inventory rate was the lowest it has been since 2007.

The serious delinquency rate, loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure, also hit it’s lowest rate since 2007 at 3.29%, 15 basis points less than last quarter.

"While the overall foreclosure inventory rate for the first quarter was considerably lower than the peak of 4.64 percent at the worst of the crisis, it was still above the average of 1.5 percent for the time period between 1979 and the first quarter of 2016,” Walsh said.

“The good news is that foreclosure inventory rates continued to decline in both judicial and non-judicial states this quarter,” Walsh continued. “However, about two-thirds of the twenty states with foreclosure inventory rates above the national average were judicial states."