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Private housing recovery hopes suffered two further blows this week when new figures showed continued falls in housing starts and prices.Government figures show that 14,400 new homes were started in July, compared with 16,000 last year. During May to July private sector starts fell from 38,300 to 34,900 compares with last year.Housing association starts, representing nearly one-quarter of the market, rose in the same period from 5,800 to 8,000 while other public sector starts fell from 2,900 to 1,600.Seasonally adjusted figures show private starts from May to July at 31,500 just 400 ahead of the previous winter quarter.Building Employers Confederation economist Joanne Cutler said: 'Until there are cuts in interest rates and the sharp increases in unemployment slow down recovery will be very difficult.'Housing price figures from the Halifax, the largest building society, showed a 0.7 per cent fall in August and now are 5.4 per cent below the level of August 1991. The average price of a house is now £64,600, against £63,300 last year.