The spring real estate market in Massachusetts so far is looking like a bust.

The number of homes and condominiums that sold in April plummeted and prices dropped as well, as the housing market showed no sign of shaking off its doldrums. Local agents say the slow start to the crucial spring season has several causes, from the sluggish economy to picky buyers holding out for bargains.

“A lot of buyers are out there, but a lot of them are very cautious. They look at a lot of properties before they want to negotiate. They are very quick to walk away,” said Ronn Huth, owner of Buyer’s Choice Realty in Wenham. The result, he added, is that “properties have been sitting for a long time.”

Many housing specialists were hoping this spring would be busier, spurred by low prices, mortgage rates under 5 percent, and a new $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers. But growing unemployment and corporate retrenchment have made some buyers skittish, while tighter lending guidelines have made it more difficult for some to get mortgages.

“The prices are low and the interest rates are low, but the banks aren’t lending,” said Aliza Dash, a real estate agent at Ford Realty Brookline. “I laugh and say, ‘Are you ready to get a blood sample to get a mortgage?’ ”

Read More: Boston Globe