About 5,000 people queued, pushed and jostled as 60 luxury flats went on sale at The Cullinan development in West Kowloon yesterday.
The throng - comprising both would-be buyers and agents hoping to strike a deal - started queuing in the morning and occupied several floors of the sales venue at the International Commerce Centre, including the ground floor and car park.
Price could have a lot to do with that: the flats were being sold for 20 per cent below the cost of secondhand flats in the development. At an average of HK$29,098 per square foot of saleable area, the cheapest flat cost more than HK$12 million.
The massive demand prompted Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) to raise the average selling price of a further 121 flats on offer in the development by between 5 and 10 per cent.
The company would also put an extra 20 flats on sale on Wednesday at an average price of HK$32,000 per square foot of saleable area, said SHKP deputy managing director Victor Lui Ting.
"Despite the fact the prices of the remaining flats have gone up, they are still at a discount when compared with peers," economist Andy Kwan Cheuk-chiu said. "I expect there will still be quite strong demand, as the supply of luxury flats in the first half was low."
Property transactions have slowed as a result of government cooling measures implemented to curb speculation in the market. A law which took effect in April also requires developers to introduce greater transparency in their sales procedures. But thanks to its aggressive pricing strategy for the first 60 flats, SHKP expects to sell all the flats on offer.
The lot-drawing for choosing flats was delayed by more than four hours until 3.30pm because of the crowd.
Many potential buyers complained about SHKP's arrangements. Mr Hu, who came from Jiangsu , said: "I plan to buy a flat worth HK$200 million. I started to queue very early in the morning, but it still took me hours to register."
Thirty-eight of the first 60 flats were earmarked for local buyers. SHKP said it registered interest from about 2,000 buyers, 75 per cent of whom were locals.