WASHINGTON, DC—Amid a general rise in residential construction activity last month, multifamily starts posted especially strong gains, according to federal data released Friday. Apartment starts were up 23.7% in January from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 449,000 units, while single-family starts were up 3.7%. Overall, housing starts rose 9.7% from December to an SAAR of 1.33 million units, data from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development show.

January’s topline total, representing the best result since October 2016, exceeded the projections of analysts polled by Reuters and Bloomberg News. The consensus figures reported by both organizations were similar at around 1.23 million units for the month.

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