ACTIVITY in the property market fell again last month, with transactions slipping 3.8 per cent from August. The Land Registry reported 6,506 sale and purchase agreements, down 15 per cent from September last year. This is the second-lowest monthly transaction figure registered for this year. The lowest level of 4,035 sale and purchase agreements was reported in February. Analysts said the low transaction volumes were not unexpected because market sentiment remained weak and developers reduced the number of new residential properties for sale. The depressed activity in the second-hand home market and the commercial sector contributed to the decrease in transactions. In terms of value, the property deals were worth $17.36 billion, down 6.3 per cent on August and 25.2 per cent less than September last year. Analysts expected that a slight increase of property transactions might be reported in the Land Registry's statistics of sale and purchase agreements lodged this month. Because of the typical delay of up to four weeks between people buying a property and registering it with the Government, the registry's figures for last month better reflect the level of property sales activity actually conducted in August. New developments put on sale in August included Cheung Kong's University Heights in west Mid-Levels and its Kingswood Villas in Tin Shui Wai, Kerry Properties' Villa Camellia joint venture in Fanling, and Sino Group's Classical Gardens in Tai Po. Morgan Grenfell Asia property analyst Sylvia Wong believed the market was likely to see an increase in transactions for October. 'Even if there were a rise in property deals, the magnitude of increases is unlikely to be significant,' she said. Market sentiment had improved slightly in recent weeks but the primary and secondary sales markets for residential properties remained slow, she said. She said the United States would probably cut interest rates by half a percentage point before the end of the year but that would not necessarily boost the Hong Kong property market. Knight Frank and Kan associate partner Wong Kim-bon expected an improvement in transaction volumes for this month because of the increase in new properties put on sale. Successful sales of new residential projects recently put on offer showed that the bottom of the market was within reach, he said. 'So the market may become more active while current prices will be firm,' he said. Mr Wong said the market could receive a further boost if the next sale of Wheelock Properties' residential joint venture, Parc Royale in Sha Tin, attracted strong buyer response. The longer-term prospect for the residential market remained uncertain and it was unlikely to stage a strong rebound unless the Government relaxed its controls in the property market, he said.