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US homes sales surged last month despite highest February prices on record

Washington, DC CNN  —  Sales of previously owned homes in the US unexpectedly soared in February to the highest level in a year, despite surging mortgage rates that month, in a sign that buyers are returning to the market. Existing home sales — which make up most of the housing market and include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — rose 9.5% in February from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 4.38 million units, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. That was the second straight month of rising sales and the largest monthly increase since February 2023, according to a release. The National Association of Realtors announced a settlement that eliminates rules on commissions. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images Related article The 6% commission on buying or selling a home is gone after Realtors association agrees to seismic settlement Home sales have rebounded since dropping to the lowest levels in decades last fall as mortgage rates shot up. Meanwhile, the median national price of an existing home rose 5.7% in February from a year earlier, to $384,500, a bigger annual rise than in the prior month. It was the highest median home price for any February on record. “Additional housing supply is helping to satisfy market demand,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in a release. “Housing demand has been on a steady rise due to population and job growth, though the actual timing of purchases will be determined by prevailing mortgage rates and wider inventory choices.”