January housing starts rebounded 1.5% to 699,000 annualized units. The reading was much stronger than the 675,000 expected by markets and comes after December starts were upwardly revised to 689,000 units (was 657,000 units). Multi-family starts rose 8.5% to 191,000 units in January, partially offsetting the 27.9% drop in December. Single-family starts, in contrast, fell 1.0% to 508,000 units in January though after surging 12.0% the month before. Starts were up across all regions, excluding the Midwest, which fell 40.7% after a December 79% surge. The headline figure was stronger than expected, and comes after a large upward revision in December, to suggest an even firmer trajectory than markets had earlier thought.