Washington — Sales of existing homes fell more than expected in April while prices slid for a record ninth consecutive month, indicating more trouble ahead for the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors reported yesterday that sales of existing homes dropped by 2.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million units, the slowest sales pace in nearly four years.

The median price of a home fell to $220,900, an 0.8 percent decline from the median price a year ago. The median is the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less. The figures mirror local trends; the median in April in Orange County was $300,000, down markedly from last year's April figure of $340,000.

The slide in existing home sales came after a report Thursday that showed a big 16.2 percent surge in sales of new homes in April that occurred as the median price of a new home fell by a record 11.1 percent from the previous month.

Analysts said the April disparity in sales of new and existing homes reflected in part the decision by builders to aggressively cut prices to unload inventory while homeowners are reluctant to lower asking prices.