NEW YORK, April 22 (Reuters) - The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was unchanged in the past week, home funding company Freddie Mac said, to hover just above 5 percent in the final days of federal home buyer tax credits.
The average rate stayed at 5.07 percent in the week ended April 22, which was down from the year's high of 5.21 percent earlier this month.
"These low mortgage rates are revitalizing the home construction industry," Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft said in a statement, after recent increases in housing starts and building permits.
With mortgage rates dipping the past few weeks and time fast running out to take advantage of home buyer tax credits, mortgage applications and home sales have been rising.
Buyers who qualify for a first-time purchaser tax credit of $8,000 or a repeat-buyer credit of $6,500 must sign contracts by the end of this month and close on loans by June 30. (Reporting by Lynn Adler; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)