Mortgage rates held steady at or near record lows in the latest week, home funding company Freddie Mac said on Thursday, with new housing data indicating market momentum is muted.
Fixed mortgage rates rose marginally, while adjustable rates slipped in the week ended June 17.
The average 30-year home loan rate rose 0.03 percentage point to 4.75 percent, well below 5.38 percent a year earlier. The rate was near 4.71 percent, the lowest since Freddie Mac (FRE.N)(FRE.P) started tracking 30-year rates weekly in 1971.
Mortgage rates were little changed this week amid preliminary signs that the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit in April may have led to a slowdown in new construction, Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist, said in a statement.
Single-family housing starts dropped 17 percent in May from April's 20-month high, he noted, while permits to build fell to the slowing pace since the May 2009.
Households have been repairing their balance sheets, meantime, and have regained $1.1 trillion in home equity in the year ended in March and built $6.3 trillion in net worth in that period.
While more than a year of federal tax incentives skewed the sales pattern, causing a spike before the April 30 deadline followed by a significant pullback, low mortgage rates last week helped spur a return of demand to buy homes and refinance loans.
Potential buyers continue to grapple with high unemployment and restrictive lending standards, which are seen containing the pace of U.S. housing market recovery.
(Reporting by Lynn Adler; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)