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The percentage of U.S. mortgage applicants getting approved has increased, especially among middle-income black and Hispanic loan applicants, indicating that easing mortgage restrictions are making it easier for more Americans to become homeowners.

Despite that progress, black and Hispanic homeowners still lag behind whites and Asians in the housing recovery, according to latest Zillow analysis of mortgage access and homeownership by race.

The new data highlight persistent home-value and access-to-credit issues for racial and ethnic minorities, and reveal improved credit access for black and Hispanic mortgage applicants.

Some key facts:

In 2013, 27.6 percent of blacks who applied for a conventional home loan were denied. In 2014, that number had fallen to 23.5 percent, according to the most recent federal data released under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

The overall denial rate for all applicants fell from 12.4 percent to 11.2 percent over the same time period.

Despite that improvement, there is still significant disparity in mortgage access among racial groups.

In 2014, blacks made up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but only 3 percent of conventional loan applicants. They made up only 2.5 percent of those approved for a conventional loan.

Hispanics make up 17.3 percent of the U.S. population, but represent only 6.1 percent of applicants and 5.5 percent of approved applicants for conventional loans.

Whites, on the other hand, make up 62 percent of the population, but 69.5 percent of conventional loan applicants and 71.9 percent of those approved for conventional loans.

Among those who already own homes, Asian neighborhoods have far outpaced others in housing appreciation since the housing market crashed. Homes there are now worth 11.9 percent more than they were at the peak of the housing bubble.

At only 4.7 percent below peak, white neighborhoods have nearly recovered to their peak value, but Hispanic communities’ housing values are 20.3 percent below peak, while black communities’ values are 16.7 percent below peak.