With the home market rallying, developers are expected to speed up sales of new flats with more aggressive pricing. Recent residential project releases have been well received generally although developers raised prices slightly. Last week saw the sales of New World Development's Scholastic Garden in Mid-Levels and Henderson Land Development's Flora Plaza in Fanling. Earlier, Cheung Kong (Holdings) made headlines with the immediate sale of 450 units in Laguna City, Lam Tin. Shih Wing-ching, managing director of Centaline Property Agency, said the high prices fetched in last week's government auction reflected developers' confidence in the long-term prospects for the property market. He expected developers to be more aggressive in upcoming releases and price new residential properties at a premium above secondary market prices. 'The premium could be 3 to 5 per cent, or even 5 to 10 per cent,' he said. Last year, developers raced to off-load new flats at discounts because of weak and sluggish buying interest. That accelerated the fall in property prices. Mr Shih said the number of new flats on sale last year had decreased compared to previous years as developers slowed construction. Developers with large backlogs of properties for sale would speed up their releases this year to take advantage of improved market sentiment, he said. New projects going on sale this week include Sun Hung Kai Properties' (SHKP) Royal Palms in Yuen Long, Chinachem Group's Pictorial Garden in Sha Tin and China Overseas Land & Investment's The Yanville in Wan Chai. Bigger projects scheduled for sale in coming months are SHKP's 1,280-unit Royal Ascot phase two development; Henderson's 616-unit Tolo Place, the fifth phase of Sunshine City; Sino Land's joint venture The Regalia in King's Park Rise; and New World Development's 230-unit Coastline Villa in Discovery Bay. Smaller projects include Wheelock Properties' 136-unit Forest Hill in Tai Po, Citic Pacific's Hang King Garden in Kwai Chung, Hon Kwok Land Investment's Harmony Garden in To Kwa Wan and Ryoden Development's Cypress Garden in Ho Man Tin. Michael Choi Ngai-min, managing director of Land Power International, said residential prices had moved steadily higher after the Lunar New Year, although the China-Taiwan tensions had adversely affected buying sentiment. Market confidence was boosted by the encouraging results achieved at last week's government auction. Mr Choi expected developers to release larger batches of new flats for sale. 'Developers will raise prices in new releases, but the increases should not be too drastic because the market is still dominated by end-users,' he said. SHKP and Henderson, two of the territory's biggest developers, teamed up to buy a big commercial-residential site in Hunghom at last week's auction for a record $4.725 billion.