Having dropped an average of 3.4  percent in each of the previous two months, the pace of existing-home sales in the U.S. ticked up 3.0 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million sales which is 1.1 percent above the pace at the same time last year and versus 4.8 percent lower on a year-over-year basis in January.

At the same time, the median price of the homes that traded hands last month inched up 0.5 percent to $241,700, which is 5.9 percent higher on a year-over-year basis, while the inventory of existing homes on the market rose 4.6 percent to 1.59 million which is 8.1 percent lower versus the same time last year.

And out West, the pace of existing-home sales jumped 11.4 percent in February to an annual rate of 1.27 million sales, which is 2.4 percent higher on a year-over-year basis (versus 9.5 percent lower in January) and the median sale price ticked up 2.2 percent to $370,600 which is 9.6 percent higher, year-over-year.

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