DISHEARTENED by the poor land auction result last week, landlords have softened asking prices of properties to attract buyers. Real estate agents said the withdrawal of a residential site in Yuen Long was a psychological blow to sellers who were now more willing to cut prices, while potential buyers were bargaining more aggressively. Maria Lee, manager at the Happy Valley branch of Land Power International, said market activity was down and there was a gap of about 10 per cent between the asking price and transaction price. Faced with uncertain market prospects, most buyers are on the sidelines, although a small number of home-seekers are scouting for bargains on the market. Brian Chan, manager at the Yuen Long branch of Ricacorp Properties, said some landlords had reduced their asking prices by two to three per cent since last week and prices might fall a further five per cent. He said there were few transactions in Yuen Long and he estimated that activity had dropped by about 70 per cent this month, compared with last month. Agents said last week's land auction did not cause a dramatic downturn in the Yuen Long home market, which was already lagging behind the overall appreciation of property prices.