Sales of existing homes rose 1.2% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday. The gain was below expectations. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected the sales rate to increase to 4.94 million in February from 4.82 million in January. Existing home sales remain soft, having been stuck below 5 million unit rate for two-and-a-half years. The median sales price of used homes hit $202,600 in February, up 7.5% from the year-earlier period. This is the biggest gain in a year. February’s inventory was 1.89 million existing homes for sale, a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace. The number of homes available for sale was down 0.5% from the year-earlier period.