US home sales fell more than expected in March, pointing to continued weakness in the housing market despite declining mortgage rates and slowing house price gains.
The sharp drop in home sales reported by the National Association of Realtors on Monday came ahead of the busy spring selling season. The housing market continues to buck the broader economy, which has shown signs of gaining momentum after stumbling at the turn of the year.
Existing home sales dropped 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million units last month. February's sales pace was revised down to 5.48 million units from the previously reported 5.51 million units.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast existing home sales would fall 3.8 percent to a rate of 5.30 million units last month. Existing home sales, which make up about 90 percent of US home sales, declined 5.4 percent from a year ago. That was the 13th straight year-on-year decrease in home sales.