This is despite an expected last minute stampede from investors ahead of the Stamp Duty rate increases, which took effect on 1 April 2016, according to figures from Equifax Touchstone.
CML figures showed a buy-to-let lending spike in February, with borrowing up 61% on the previous year to £3.7bn, which Equifax figures suggest came to an abrupt halt.
However, residential sales were up 1.4% to £12.95bn, the highest month sales figures since the 2008 market crash.
Combined, residential and buy-to-let sales for the intermediated market fell by 5.1%, a reduction of £855.7m, on the previous month.
Scotland was the only region to increase its mortgage sales in March while Northern Ireland saw the steepest fall, down by almost 20%. London followed, with a drop of almost 10% in mortgage sales on February.
Iain Hill, relationship manager, Equifax Touchstone, said: “Recent buy-to-let mortgage flows indicate that borrowers took the advice of their lenders, and initiated transactions in good time to avoid an eleventh-hour panic.
“The big question from here is, to what extent will the new stamp duty rates discourage investors from entering into new deals? With so much economic uncertainty, property remains an attractive investment option for many people. Given the rollercoaster first quarter of 2016, it will be interesting to see where sales trends go from here.”