U.S. existing home sales climbed well above expectations on Monday, a welcome respite from the mostly dismal news on the U.S. housing sector.

Existing home sales grew 5.1% in February against expectations for a 0.9% decline, and following a 5.3% drop in January, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Sales of single-family homes rose 4.4% following a 4.7% decrease in January, while sales of condos and other multiple-family units climbed 11.4% against a 10.2% decrease the month prior.

The average price of a single-family home in February was $209,600.

USD/CAD fell following the release and stocks jumped, with the Dow gaining about 25 points.

By Megan Ainscow, mainscow@economicnews.ca, edited by Ernest Hoffman, ehoffman@economicnews.ca