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.

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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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