Sales decreased for a fourth time in five months despite lower mortgage rates, sustained wage gains and slower home price appreciation. February's 11.8% spike was revised slightly lower to 11.2% MoM, but March's existing home sales slumped 4.9% MoM (notably worse than the 3.8% drop expected).
As the median home price rose 3.8% from last year to $259,400, and inventory rose 3.1% to 1.68m homes.
"There's a supply-demand mismatch," Jessica Lautz, NAR's vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, said at a briefing in Washington.
"More inventory is needed at the lower end and a price reduction may be needed at the upper end," she said, adding that NAR projects sales to accelerate later this year.
The report adds to signs of a cooling market in March, including a government report Friday showing housing starts fell to the slowest pace since May 2017.