Housing prices in popular private estates fell 35.7 per cent last year, according to provisional figures from the Rating and Valuation Department. Prices fell more than 40 per cent in the first nine months, but rebounded in November and December. The department's figures showed housing prices picked up about 15 per cent in November and December as buyers returned to the market. At the end of last year, prices of large flats in popular developments were 36.8 per cent lower then they were a year earlier. Prices of small to medium-sized units fell 35.6 per cent in the period. Compared with the peak levels in mid-1997, overall prices in popular estates were down 43.7 per cent. Prices of larger flats suffered slightly more, with an accumulated fall of 45.4 per cent in the period. Prices of smaller flats fell 43.6 per cent. The statistics are based on transacted prices in 50 completed housing developments on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. The developments include Beverly Hills, Dynasty Court, Taikoo Shing, Whampoa Garden and Discovery Bay. Small to medium-sized units are those with saleable areas of 1,075 square feet or less. Larger units are those of 1,076 sq ft or more. The department's figures showed average prices of smaller flats in urban housing estates fell 36.1 per cent last year. Prices of larger flats fell 37.3 per cent. In popular developments in the New Territories, prices of smaller flats tumbled 35.1 per cent in the year, while those of larger units fell 35.3 per cent.