The government's cooling measures have kept most mainland buyers out of the city's property market, with only eight new flats sold in yesterday's Labour Day holiday.
"The Labour Day holiday used to be the peak season of the property market," said Sammy Po Siu-ming, the chief executive of Midland Realty. "In 2011 and 2012, we provided four shuttle buses to bring more than 200 mainland groups directly to the sale offices of new projects each day. But after the government introduced the buyer's stamp duty in February last year, these buyers fell sharply. We had only two mainland groups visiting the sale offices [yesterday]."
Property agents said three flats at New World Development's Park Signature in Yuen Long and two at Sino Land's Avenue in Wan Chai were sold yesterday.
It was still better than last year's Labour Day holiday, when only two deals were made, but far below than what it was before.
The market sold 49 and 23 new flats on Labour Day in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Henderson Land Development's Harbour Pinnacle, a new luxury project in Tsim Sha Tsui priced at an average HK$34,703 per square foot, was available for sale yesterday. But no flat was sold by yesterday evening.
Ricacorp Property agency director Kent Chui said the sales of second-hand flats were also not active yesterday.
"Not many home-seekers visited flats. It may be because it is not a long holiday for local people," Chui said.
Meanwhile, research by the Rating and Valuation Department showed 8,250 flats were completed last year, 19 per cent fewer than in 2012.
The take-up of new flats during the same period increased 7 per cent to 8,060.
The vacancy rate dropped to 4.1 per cent at the end of last year from 4.3 per cent a year earlier.
The vacancy rate of flats of less than 429 square foot grew to 3.5 per cent, the highest since 2004. The increase was due to the fact that 74 per cent of new housing supply were small flats.
The department said 17,610 flats would be completed this year and 12,660 next.
This year's new supply would be the highest in 10 years. About 61 per cent would be in the New Territories.