Land Registry figures show property transactions last month halved compared with May last year - confirming last week's forecast by property agents and underlining the extent of the property downturn. The registry said it had received 9,640 sale and purchase agreements, mainly for residential units, down 13.6 per cent on April and 51.2 per cent on May last year. The figure for last month better reflects market activity for April due to the time-lag between a transaction and its registration. Analysts said that in April last year the property market was in the middle of a speculative boom, so the 50 per cent drop reflected the strength of the bull market as well as the depth of its collapse. Agents said the year-on-year decline was sharp but not as pronounced as the 70 per cent year-on-year fall in February. Property activity in February plunged to a three-year low of only 4,600 registered transactions. Agents predicted the decline would continue, with between 6,000 and 7,000 transactions being recorded this month. Those figures will be announced by the Government early next month. The Land Registry said the value of last month's transactions was about $30.6 billion, down 6.9 per cent compared with April and 55.9 per cent lower than the value for May last year. Centaline Property Agency managing director Shih Wing-ching forecast the situation this month would be worse than last month as property activity in the secondary market had come to a virtual standstill. 'Activity in the secondary market is the worst so far this year,' he said. 'Prospects for the home sector do not look optimistic, despite the Government's attempt to strengthen the market. 'We will continue to scale down our network if losses occur again.' Centaline closed 20 branches last month after losing $11 million in revenues. Hong Kong Property Services (Agency) managing director Michael Choi Ngai-min said the property sector was still volatile, hit by economic uncertainties.