Texas existing home sales grew 2.8% in February from a month earlier, outpacing transactions nationwide according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Sales also increased 16.5% from February 2011, rising in the four largest Texas metropolitan areas of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin.

U.S. preowned-home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors, dropped 0.9% monthly and grew 8.8% from a year earlier.

Two other indicators, however, reflected weakness in the Texas housing market. Single-family construction permits fell 8.2% in February from January, while housing starts dipped 0.1%.

The rest of the state's economy continued to grow in February, with employment up 2.8% at an annual rate according to the Dallas Fed.