ESTATE agents expect a slow response to Sino Land's luxury residential project Villa Costa in Tai Po because of tighter housing budgets for employees of multinational companies. The low-rise development comprises 12 detached houses, each measuring 4,050 sq ft, which are being leased at a monthly rental of more than $100,000 per unit. Average rents quoted by the developer are about $25 per sq ft for the three-storey houses. The average rents per sq ft were reasonable and attractive, said estate agents, in view of the quality of Villa Costa. But the lump sum rental, in excess of $100,000 for each unit, was a large amount of money and few corporate tenants were prepared to pay so much to rent a house at current market conditions, said Mariana Hung, sales manager in Tai Po for Ricacorp Properties. 'The lease of Villa Costa will probably be affected by the reduced housing budget provided by multinational companies for their executives,' she said. She expected the leasing response to Villa Costa to be slow and added it would take time for the market to absorb the units. Agents said Villa Costa would attract only a small number of tenants who could afford a large lump sum rental. Ms Hung said the leasing market for low-rise housing properties in Tai Po was active and there were a large number of expatriates living in the area. But many tenants' affordable rental level was about $60,000 to $70,000 or less a month, she said. The most active leasing market for low-rise houses in Tai Po is the large-scale Hong Lok Yuen project which provides a variety of units ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 sq ft with monthly rental of about $40,000 to $50,000. Savanna Garden, a low-rise detached house development with units measuring about 2,600 to 2,700 sq ft, commands an average rental of about $30 per sq ft per month. Ms Hung said the relocation of more companies in the Tai Po industrial estate had fuelled demand in the residential leasing market because of the increased number of executives working there. The new airport project would trigger an influx of expatriates to Hong Kong, which might further increase housing demand in Tai Po, she said. Villa Costa is located at No 18 Lookout Lane at Tai Po Road, with the spacious detached houses overlooking the Tolo Harbour. A car parking lot is attached on the ground floor of each house. The 12 detached houses each have garden space of about 1,500 sq ft to 8,400 sq ft. Unit rents for the houses range from about $108,000 to $148,000. The houses boast the use of high quality construction materials and fittings such as the provision of concealed under-floor heating in bathrooms. External walls are of French natural sandstone and sprayed to give a granite look. Split type air-conditioning system with cooling and heating function is provided in all the rooms (living room, dining room, family room, study room), including the store room, kitchen and servant's room. While most tenants are expected to have their own cars, the project has easy access to Tai Po Road, which is well connected by public transport facilities. Management fee for the houses is $2.9 per sq ft per month, which amounts to a lump sum charge of $11,745 for each house. The project has a clubhouse featuring an indoor heated swimming pool, a fully-equipped gymnastic room, sauna, steam bath and a tennis court. DEVELOPMENT: Villa Costa, a residential project at Lookout Lane, Tai Po. DEVELOPER: Sino Land. NUMBER OF UNITS: 12 SIZE OF UNITS: 4,050 sq ft RENT: About $25 per sq ft per month. FACILITIES: Clubhouse, indoor heated swimming pool, gym, sauna, tennis court.