DESPITE the market's doldrums, developers are set to start a new round of residential sales, which will gauge home buyers' confidence and their interest in returning to the market place. About 10 major residential projects are expected to go on sale starting in June and continuing through the summer, although estate agents doubted whether people at present had much of an appetite for property. The biggest project to hit the market will be Cheung Kong's Kingswood Villa phase seven development in Tin Shui Wai, which comprises about 2,900 flats. Other imminent releases include the 319-unit La Costa project in Discovery Bay, the 432-unit Crystal Park in Yuen Long, the 640-unit Parc Royale in Sha Tin and the 213-unit Parc Regal in Ho Man Tin. Lai Sun Development's sale of 110 flats at Blessings Garden in Mid-Levels has also been re-scheduled for June. Nicholas Brooke, senior partner of Brooke Hillier Parker, said some developers had no choice but to bring properties onto the market, despite the weak buying sentiment. 'As much as they would like to play it cool, cash flow considerations are paramount,' he said. The present market situation might not be ideal, but given that the market could soften further it made sense for developers to put their flats on sale now, he said. An executive of one developer said developers could not delay selling properties indefinitely when they were unsure when a market recovery would come, due to cash flow considerations. 'Selling properties is no longer an easy task, and pricing is especially difficult. Innovative marketing strategies are also needed,' he said. Loretta Ho Pak-ching, director of HKR International, said developers could not expect to see an instant sell-out of units under the prevailing market conditions. For the forthcoming sale of its La Costa project, she said, the company was prepared to provide an extra 15 per cent mortgage financing on top of 70 per cent loans offered by banks to help genuine buyers. Among the upcoming releases, Kingswood Villa is likely to have the most aggressive sales campaign, as Cheung Kong recently recruited more than 100 salesmen to form its marketing team. In July, Ryoden Development expects to launch the sale of its 54-unit Cypress Garden in Ho Man Tin, while Hang Lung Development may sell Parc Versailles in Tai Po, which provides about 800 units. The offer of Henderson Land's Floral Garden in Fanling is also expected. With interest rates still high and consumers feeling the pinch, however, estate agents said the market was possibly facing a further correction and developers would have a tough time drumming up buying interest for their projects. The sales market has been depressed during April and May. Agents said the property market was likely to stay that way for the next two to three months. Home buyers were still worrying whether residential prices might drop further, they said. For the sales due soon, estate agents said that developers would continue adopting discount pricing policies in an attempt to bring a slumbering market to life. A fall in interest rates might also start a rally in the market, said agents. However, some agents were not convinced and said a fall in interest rates, if any, would have to be 'significant' to bring home seekers flooding back. Mr Brooke, who was slightly bearish on the short-term outlook, said people would continue to sit on the fence, because they anticipated that the local property market was still in need of some correction. Developers would have to cut and discount prices if they wanted to create demand, he said. Pessimistic agents said home buyers were not likely to return to the market in the short term, because consumer spending was down overall.