The boom-and-bust cycle in the U.S. housing market has been both cruel and kind to black Americans.

That’s the conclusion of a study released this week by the Pew Research Center.

When housing prices were rising and home loans were easy to get, homeownership among blacks rose at a faster rate than for whites. But since the foreclose crisis hit in 2005, blacks have seen their gains evaporate far more than whites.

So, are African Americans better off having taken this wild housing ride?

Pew researchers never address that question directly, but the numbers might imply that we are. Even after the foreclosure-related decline, the homeownership rate for blacks is still 5.6 percentage points higher than it was in 1995.

Whites, meanwhile, have seen a net gain of 4.4 percentage points.

Other interesting findings:

  • Despite black gains, the homeownership gap between blacks and whites remains substantial – 47.5 percent versus 74.9 percent, respectively.
  • Though blacks and Hispanics began relatively even in 1995, the homeownership rate for Hispanics is now 1.4 percentage points higher than for blacks.
  • Blacks who applied for home mortgages during the study period generally got bigger loans relative to their income and were more likely to get so-called subprime loans, those with above-average interest rates.

Click here to download a .pdf file of the full report.

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