Housing starts fell 6.3% in September to a seasonally adjusted rate of 817,00, another 17-year low, against downwardly revised August estimates, which were dropped from 895,000 to 872,000, the Commerce Department reported Friday morning. September starts were 31.1% below the same month last year.

Single-family housing starts fell even further, down 12% to 544,000.

Permits fell 8.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 786,000, 38.4% off last September's pace. Single-family permits fell 3.8% to a rate of a rate of 532,000.

Completions, however, were up 11.7% from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,097,000 but still 20.4% off last year's pace. Single-family completions were up even more--17%--to a rate of 806,000.

Regionally, starts were down 20.9% for all housing and -4.8% for single family in the Northeast; up 5.6% overall and down 24.1% for single-family in the Midwest; up 0.5% overall but down 6.3% for single family in the South; and down 16.8% and 17.7%, respectively, in the West.

Permits were up 13.4% overall and down 8.5% for single-family in the Northeast; down 9.8% and flat, respectively in the Midwest; down 9.9% and 2.8%, respectively, in the South; and down 12.7% and 6.7% in the West.