The pace of home resales in the U.S. picked up by 5.2 percent in February, defying forecasts for a slowdown, as warm weather boosted single-family and condo sales, according to trade group data on Thursday that showed a pause in the market's cool-down.

Sales of existing U.S. homes rose to a 6.91 million unit annual rate in February, halting a string of monthly declines, the National Association of Realtors said. January's sales were revised up to a 6.57 million unit pace.

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