Housing-market distress is at its lowest in at least 20 years — can it hold?

In the aftermath of the housing crisis, lenders and regulators clamped down hard to make sure we’d never have another bubble like the one that inflated in the middle of the last decade.

That’s led to a borrowing environment that many housing-market observers describe as too pristine, one absent normal fluctuations. And many have warned that with delinquencies and other housing distress at long-time lows, it can only get worse from here.

Or can it?

Read: Meet the little bank that’s helping immigrants grab big American Dreams

In May, the “foreclosure inventory rate,” or the percentage of homes currently in any stage of the foreclosure process, was at its lowest in over 20 years — for the sixth month in a row.

That data comes from real estate services provider CoreLogic. The company’s data only goes back to 1999, so it’s entirely possible this is actually the lowest in a lot more than two decades.

See: The notorious Reno drunk and the housing-market hangover

Overall delinquencies are also at the lowest since 1999, CoreLogic said, citing “a 50-year low in unemployment, rising home prices and responsible underwriting.”

Notably, that long-time low in all delinquencies comes alongside small local spikes in what’s called the “serious delinquency” rate, or loans that are more than 90 days past due. For example, one year past the massive California Camp Fire, serious delinquencies in the Chico, Calif., metro area jumped 21%.

That’s a small reminder of the housing market as it existed before the bubble inflated and then burst. All real estate is local, in part because natural disasters, microeconomies and municipal policies are particular to a region.

Related: The regulator, the whistleblower and the CEO: Key housing players reflect on the financial crisis 10 years later

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