While the National Association of Realtors released a report Thursday morning showing that existing home sales fell by more than expected in the month of March, the trade group noted that first-time buyers are responding to low mortgage interest rates and tax credits.

The report showed that existing home sales fell 3.0 percent to an annual rate of 4.57 million units in March from a downwardly revised level of 4.71 million in February. With the monthly decrease, existing home sales were down 7.1 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

Economists had expected existing home sales to fall to a 4.65 million unit rate from the 4.72 million unit rate originally reported for the previous month.

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