WASHINGTON - Record low single-family housing starts in most parts of the country will not add to the tax revenue woes troubling state and local governments for at least a year, but deteriorating finances for municipalities may require federal assistance, market participants said yesterday.

Housing starts for single-family homes tumbled 12.0% from 618,000 in August to 544,000 in September, the lowest ever on record, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Single-family housing starts fell to new lows in the Northeast, Midwest, and West, while starts in the South fell to the lowest level since January 1991. Total housing starts fell nationally well below the lowest of economists' estimates, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

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