WingTai Asia's lower than expected pricing for The Waterfront has caught widespread market attention and agents expect the sale to receive strong support. Agents warned, however, that the below-market pricing had put pressure on sellers of second-hand luxury flats in the Tsim Sha Tsui area to adjust downwards slightly asking prices to compete. WingTai is offering the first 32 units for public sale on May 16 at an average price of $5,678 per square foot. Registration for buyers will run from May 11-13. Edward Cheng, chief executive of USI Holdings, joint developer and project manager, said The Waterfront was set to become a top luxury residential project. The developer expected the project to attract upgraders from all districts of Hong Kong. According to WingTai, some of the units with gross floor area of 983 sq ft and 1,170 sq ft also feature a 400-sq ft terrace designed by one of the world's leading landscape architects. The company said the 32 units on offer represented a good spread of sizes on high, middle and low floors of Towers I, II and III. The units commanded varying views - ranging from Central sea view, garden-and-sea view to Lei Yue Mun and Lion Rock view. The project would also enjoy the view of a 400,000 sq ft golf driving range to be opened in September beside the development. The Waterfront is developed by a consortium led by Singaporean companies including WingTai, Singapore Land, Keppel Land and Temasek Holdings. The Hong Kong partners include USI, Lai Sun Development and Worldwide Investment. The project comprises 1,288 units in six towers. The first phase of 705 units has received pre-sale consent. Chi Cheung Property residential department's sales director Samuel Chan said more than 300 prospective buyers had pre-registered for the sale. He said the developer intended to create a better registration response by attractively pricing the first batch of units and would raise prices in additional releases, depending on unit floor levels and views available. Mr Chan expected to see a strong response with the recent market improvements and interest-rate cuts. Up to 30 banks are committed to providing mortgage services for purchasers of The Waterfront. Most of them offer preferential rates. Singapore-registered United Overseas Bank has emerged as the most aggressive, lending at one percentage point below prime rate for the first half-year of the mortgage. Some banks also are providing bridging loans. Fortune Realty luxury residential division manager Andy Poon expected the sale to draw buyers because of the attractive pricing. The offering prices for the first 32 units were below the market expectation of $6,000 per sq ft and much lower than the prices of units sold through internal sales earlier, he said. Mr Poon said the price gap was justified, considering the internal-sale units were mainly flats with sea views while the 32 units on public sale offered garden views. The developer's preferential-payment terms provided another drawcard, he said. The Waterfront buyers can borrow an extra 15 per cent mortgage from the developer for the purchase. Mr Poon said buyers would not pay a price premium for using the top-up mortgage. They would be charged a mortgage rate of two percentage points above prime, but the payment schemes remained attractive, he said. He expected the developer to release additional units at higher prices, with flats enjoying sea views to exceed $7,000 per sq ft and those with Victoria Harbour views to be in the range of $8,000-$10,000 per sq ft.