Property and shop owners will pay an average of seven per cent less in rates as a result of a substantial fall in rents during the downturn. The Financial Secretary said rateable values dropped by between three per cent for residential flats and 21 per cent for offices based on a revaluation by the Government over the past two years. A residential flat of less than 752 square feet will be subject to rates of $290 a month, a saving of $10 a month, according to the Budget. Offices will in future pay average monthly rates of $1,229, meaning an average saving of $320 a month. The new charges will take effect on April 1, Mr Tsang said. Government rents will also drop. For a 752-square-foot flat, the Government rent will be $162 a month, a saving of $3. For offices, the average monthly rent payable to the Government will be $1,112, representing a saving of $266 a month.