PROPERTY buyers have been out in force again this weekend. Strong sales have been a driving force behind the surge in the Hang Seng Index over the past week, when it soared to its highest in two years. By yesterday evening, New World Development had sold about 80 per cent of the extra 50 flats it put on the market at its Scholastic Garden development in Mid-Levels. All 68 apartments initially offered in the Lyttelton Road development were sold on Friday after eager buyers had queued all week ready for the first-come-first-served sale. The extra units were offered at slightly more than the original average of $6,100 per square foot. A large number of potential buyers were also reported to have headed to Hunghom for Wheelock Properties' sale of flats at its Bailey Garden development, despite a 10 per cent price rise to $4,768 per square foot. Wheelock would not reveal how many people had pre-registered since Friday for the sale that begins on Tuesday. But there were said to have been queues of people for much of Saturday lining up to see the show flats. With strong market expectations of a rally in the residential property market after the Lunar New Year, genuine home buyers and investors have been out and about, eager to buy before prices rise. The project is being offered under an unusual first-come-first-served system. Wheelock has been taking a deposit of $240,000 from all applicants. The first ones to be registered will have the first chance to buy on Tuesday, and they will have their down-payments refunded if they change their minds. The novel system is intended to discourage speculators, because the registered buyer's identity cannot be changed and traded on. Other projects on sale this weekend include Henderson Land Development's Florence Plaza in Cheung Sha Wan. Henderson planned to initially sell 30 units in the development at an average $4,250 per square foot. By yesterday evening, about 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the units were believed to have been sold. Hang Lung Development and Lai Sun Development were marketing 128 units at Parc Versailles in Tai Po at an average price of $3,843 per square foot. Investors in property stocks will be watching eagerly how these sales progress over the weekend, to judge the strength of gradually recovering property market sentiment.