Pending home sales slumped 11.6% to a reading of 81.9 in April, according to a report released Friday by the National Association of Realtors.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted a 1.0% decrease for the index.
The March index was downwardly revised to 92.6 from 94.1.
Year-over-year, the pending homes sales index was down 26.5% from last April, when the index was 111.5, but that number was deemed artificially high as a result of the deadline for a homebuyer tax credit.
Regionally, pending sales were mostly lower.
The Northeast saw a 1.7% increase to 64.5, while sales fell 17.2% to 91.3 in the South and decreased 10.4% to 74.1 in the Midwest. In the West, sales dropped 8.9% to 89.1.
“The pullback in contract signings is disappointing and implies a slower than expected market recovery in upcoming months,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.
“The economy hit a soft patch in April from sharply rising oil prices, widespread severe weather with the heaviest precipitation in 20 years, and a sudden rise in unemployment claims,” he said.