Houses were less affordable in the second quarter than in the first three months of the year, the National Association of Realtors has reported.

Rising mortgage rates caused the group's housing affordability index to fall 5.7 points in the second quarter, to 134.5, from 140.2 in the first quarter. Still, the second-quarter reading is slightly above the 134.4 of a year earlier.

"It's important to keep in mind that affordability levels during the previous six months were at the highest level since 1973, so even with a decline in the index, homebuyers still enjoy excellent housing affordability conditions," said Sharon A. Millet, president of the association.

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