Property transactions in the secondary market are continuing to decline as prospective buyers, fearing a possible rise in interest rates, delay purchases, estate agents say. Centaline Property Agency managing director Shih Wing-ching said the number of secondary market transactions handled by the company had fallen 10 per cent to about 400 deals in the first two weeks of June from the same period in May. He attributed the fall to home buyers' confidence being shattered further by the prospect of a rate rise and a nose-dive in the Hang Seng Index. 'I am also surprised by the landslide in property prices last week, ' Mr Shih said. The company had closed a transaction on a unit in Taikoo Shing at $3,900 per square foot while a unit at Sceneway Garden above Lam Tin MTR Station had been sold for $3,600 per sq ft, he said. However, he believed home prices would rebound after such a drastic fall. Agents said buyers also had been disheartened by news of further price cuts by developers for new property sales. The latest price reductions were seen at Nan Fung Development's launch of Nan Fung Plaza in Tseung Kwan O and Sun Hung Kai Properties' remaining units at projects in Tuen Mun and Yuen Yuen. Recent property sales have been slow as buyers remain hesitant in the face of continuing uncertainties and high borrowing costs. Hong Kong Property Services (Agency) research manager Michael Ho said secondary transactions had been adversely affected by various negative market factors. The secondary market had come to a virtual standstill as buying interest evaporated in the face of growing concern at the deteriorating economic outlook. Mr Ho said sales in the primary market also had slowed despite continuing efforts by developers to offload units at discounted prices. Agents predicted transactions would hit a new low for the year this month. Hong Kong Property Services estimated flat prices in private housing estates had dropped about 8 per cent so far this month as more units came on the market. Agents said among the more active home-seekers were first-time buyers who had secured Government Home Starter Loans. But they were taking their time in today's weakened market and successful loan borrowers had up to six months to make purchases.