Buying rights for Sun Hung Kai Properties' (SHKP) East Point City flats in Tseung Kwan O were traded for up to $400,000 each yesterday, as speculators exploited buyers' fears of rising prices to make profits. Estate agents said trading of buying rights in the black market was not as active as previously expected after SHKP's release of more than 1,000 units for sale. They said prices pitched for the coupons ranged between $50,000 and $400,000. One buyer reportedly paid $50,000 for the 981st place coupon. District sales manager of Hong Kong Property Service's Lam Tin branch, Wong Kai-hong, said the move by the developer to limit the number of people buying through shell companies to 20 per cent had worked. 'Speculation for the project was not intense,' he said, adding there were no bidders for the 1,000th and above buying rights. Mr Wong said buyers did not mind paying $10,000 to $20,000 for rights to be the first to choose units offered at relatively low prices under the first batch released to the market. But some agents said speculation remained active despite the developer's efforts to limit the number of corporate buyers. The first 304 flats in East Point City were offered at a below market price of $4,771 per square foot. SHKP further released 1,560 units over three batches to bring the total number to 1,864. Prices also had been increased to $5,214 per square foot for the last batch. More than 27,000 people registered for the sale, with about $9.5 billion frozen in deposits. East Point City has a total 2,184 units. Official sale of the 1,864 units starts today. Midland Realty said while speculation of buying rights would distort market activities, it conceded speculative activity was in full-swing. The agent said it recorded a $400,000 transaction for the 92th place buying right. It said the price for the 600th place was $60,000. Earlier this week, Eton Properties also saw active speculation in this week's sale of 76 flats at its Carmen's Garden in Cox's Road. More than 3,500 people registered for the sale. One buyer reportedly paid more than $2 million to get the rights to be among the first to buy a unit. Buyers of unfinished flats need to go through a computer ballot under the pre-sale consent restrictions, with successful applicants awarded coupons giving them rights to buy a unit. Trading of the coupons is made possible as speculators register through shell companies and then circumvent the Government ban on the resale of unfinished flats before completion by having the company shares, instead of the property itself, change hands immediately.