Property developers have expressed grave reservations about Consumer Council proposals for intervention in the residential property market. While noting that a council study's findings accurately identified forces shaping the property market, the Real Estate Developers Association (Reda) said it disagreed with the study's analysis of the primary and the secondary markets. A spokesman said Reda was disappointed the council was seeking to interfere with free market fundamentals by proposing a deadline for sales of newly completed units. 'There is already a very tight building covenant requiring developments to be completed before specified time limits,' he said. 'Imposing a further deadline on the timing of sale would mean depriving a businessman of the opportunity of making sensible business decisions in response to market conditions. 'It is doubtful whether the market will remain free and competitive if businessmen are deprived of the fundamental right to decide when to buy and sell, and at what prices.' Reda said the Consumer Council report was wrong to say that the influence of individual owners selling property in the secondary market was much smaller than the influence of developers in the primary market in setting price levels. 'The number of transactions of newly completed units consistently represents only about 20 per cent of the average annual total of residential transactions in recent years,' it said. 'These secondary transactions obviously set the prices for residential properties at any moment. . . 'The council through its report has over-emphasised the importance of the primary market in setting market price levels.' The spokesman said Hong Kong property developers practised in a commercial free market without competitive limits, and this had been confirmed by the council's study. The council report found that 50-70 per cent of the territory's new flats each year were produced by the five largest developers. Reda said developers through the association had had been working closely with professional institutes for years with a view to ensuring that the property market and the economy would continued to perform in a stable and healthy manner.