FILE- In this Feb. 20, 2019, file photo a coming soon for sale sign sits in front of a home in the Dallas suburb of Richardson, Texas. On Monday, April 22, the National Association of Realtors reports on sales of existing homes in March. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Home sales fall 4.9% in slow start to spring buying season

April 22, 2019 - 10:01 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of existing U.S. homes fell in March after a huge gain the previous month, held back partly by a sharp slowdown among the most expensive properties.

The National Association of Realtors says home sales fell 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million, down from 5.48 million in February. The drop followed an 11.2 percent gain the previous month, the largest in more than three years.

Home sales are struggling to rebound after slumping in the second half of last year, when a jump in mortgage rates to nearly 5% discouraged many would-be buyers.

Realtors expect sales to rebound in coming months. Borrowing costs have since fallen back to an average of 4.2% on a 30-year fixed mortgage. The job market also remains solid.

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