The group's index dropped 5.5 percent to 95.5 from a downwardly revised 101.1 in March. March's pending home sales index was initially reported to be 101.4.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected April's pending sales to be unchanged from the initial March reading.
Nevertheless, pending home sales are still 14.4 percent higher compared to one year earlier, NAR noted.
"Home contract activity has been above year-ago levels now for 12 consecutive months. The housing recovery momentum continues," Lawrence Yun, the trade group's chief economist, said.
A sale is listed as pending after a contract is signed but the deal has not closed, though the purchase usually is completed within a few months.
For the full year, NAR predicts that existing-home sales will reach 4.66 million, up from 4.26 million in 2011. And sales of existing homes are expected to climb to 4.92 million in 2013. Home prices, meanwhile, could rise two percent to three percent in 2011 and four percent to five percent in 2013, NAR forecast.
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National Association of Realtors, NAR, Dow Jones, Lawrence Yun