US home sales surged in February as mortgage rates dipped

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes surged in February to the fastest pace in six months as homebuyers seized on a modest drop in mortgage rates and slight pullback in prices, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Existing home sales jumped 14.5% last month from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.58 million, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. That’s the strongest sales pace since September and it’s higher than the 4.2 million economists were expecting, according to FactSet.

The surge in sales ended a 12-month decline that led to the nation’s worst housing slump in nearly a decade as mortgage rates surged following a series of interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve last year. Still, sales are down 22.6% compared with February last year.