The Northeast recorded the worst home sales and price declines of all regions in the country in March, the National Association of Realtors said yesterday, as layoffs exert a drag on the area’s housing markets.

Northeast home sales dropped 20 percent last month from the year before, and median sales price tumbled 18 percent to $231,700. Nationally, sales of existing homes posted an unexpected decline, falling 4 percent in March from a year ago, without adjusting for seasonal factors. The U.S. median sales price slid more than 12 percent to $175,200.

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