Sales of investment properties valued above HK$100 million nearly doubled in Hong Kong in the first half of the year, with expectations the momentum will continue for the rest of 2012. A study by property consultant Cushman and Wakefield found that the number of such transactions increased 92.4 per cent to 177 compared with the second half year of last year. The total transaction amount rose 32.4 per cent from HK$44.1 billion to HK$58.4 billion. Kent Fong, senior director and co-head of investment at Cushman and Wakefield, attributed the 'strong growth' to greater liquidity, lower interest rates and adequate capital. 'Liquidity is high as banks have been active in lending activities since the Chinese New Year,' Fong said. 'The sustained low interest rates also encouraged investors to purchase properties to fight inflation.' Apart from capital from Hong Kong and the mainland, European and American investors also took part through real estate funds, according to Fong. The focus has been on second-tier locations like Kwai Chung, Tsuen Wan and Kwun Tong, and secondary investment properties. Investment portfolios also expanded from grade A offices in Central and major shopping streets to grade B offices in Wan Chai and minor shopping streets like Lyndhurst Terrace and Wellington Street in the first half, Fong said. He expected the total number of large-sum transactions to reach 300 by the end of the year, with a total transaction amount of over HK$80 billion. 'Despite the weak external economy, Hong Kong will see sustained large-sum transactions in the second half-year as the demand will remain high, interest rates will remain low, and capital from different sources will keep pouring into the city,' said Fong.