P.M. BRIEFING : Homes Slightly Less Affordable

<i> From Times Staff and Wire Service Reports</i>

The National Assn. of Realtors said today that its housing affordability index dipped to 102.3 in July from 102.9 in June as the median price of a home increased $900, to $97,500. “Home buyers lost a marginal amount of purchasing power in July,” the group said.

When the index stands at 100, the median family income equals the exact amount needed to qualify to purchase a median-price home with conventional financing and a 20% down payment.

“At 102.3, the index shows that a family earning the national median income of $34,358 for July had 102.3% of the income needed to qualify for conventional financing covering 80% of a home priced at $98,400, the median existing-home price for that month,” the group said.