Home sales fell 22.7 percent to 25,464 units in March, compared to the same month in 2011, marking 13 consecutive months of drops, the Spanish National Statistics Institute, or INE, said Thursday.

Sales dropped 26.3 percent in January and 31.8 percent in February after falling 17.7 percent in 2011.

Home sales had risen 6.3 percent in 2010 after plunging 28.8 percent in 2008, when the economic crisis started, and 24.9 percent in 2009, the INE said.

The collapse of the real estate industry is one of the main factors behind the economic crisis in Spain since homebuilding had become one of the engines of the economy in the late 1990s.

Home sales exceeded 80,000 units monthly at the peak of the 1998-2007 real estate boom.