Sales of new homes rose more than fivefold last week as project releases attracted end-users and investors.
Led by sales at Century Gateway, in Tuen Mun, and Double Cove, in Ma On Shan, about 260 new homes were sold over the weekend, up from just 49 deals done in the previous week.
The big jump in sales arose because fewer new homes were available in the previous week, agents said, as developers had released their price lists on the new projects but under the regulations governing home sales they had to wait for three days for buyers to examine the lists and view the flats before they could release them for sale.
A number of new projects are due to be released in the New Territories over the coming months, agents said, and homebuyers are expected to come out in force once they are launched.
Sammy Po Siu-ming at the property agency Midland Realty, said: "Sales in the primary market are heating up, especially in the New Territories."
Buyers are also turning to the new-home market because owners of existing homes were either raising their asking prices or holding back to bet on further rises in property prices, Po said. Data from the estate agency Ricacorp Properties showed that in the 50 housing estates it monitors, 325 homes were sold in the secondary market during the week ended September 23, up 5.2 per cent from the previous week's 309 sales.
Patrick Chow Moon-kit, head of research at Ricacorp, said some homeowners had increased their asking prices by between HK$100,000 and as much as HK$200,000 or even withdrawn their flats from the market.
"Therefore, we will see a reduction in the number of flats for sale in the secondary market, with other flats being sold at much higher prices," Chow said.
"Looking ahead, we expect it will become more difficult to close deals, as there is a widening gap between what buyers and sellers believe is a fair price."
Centaline Property Agency said a 796 sq ft flat in East Point City, Tseung Kwan O, sold for HK$5.98 million, or HK$7,513 per square foot, last week, the highest price in the estate for a flat of that size.
Home prices increased by 0.6 per cent last week, said Chow, who expects the rise to continue for at least another month.