While the proposed 24-hour border opening between Hong Kong and Shenzhen is still under discussion, developers are stepping up efforts to promote their projects in the special economic zone to lure SAR buyers. At the 2000 Shenzhen Real Estate (Hong Kong) Exhibition held last week at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, organiser Shenzhen Real Estate Exchange Centre attracted 47 developers offering more than 50 developments for sale. Some developers said the 24-hour border opening proposal would give a definite boost to the Shenzhen property market. The projects on offer at the show involved a total gross floor area of 2.1 million square metres. Of that, 2.01 million sq metres was residential. The other 90,000 sq metres was retail and office. Most of the developments at the exhibition were situated along the proposed subway route in Shenzhen. A spokesman for Shenzhen Urban Planning & Land Administration Bureau said the construction of the Shenzhen subway was scheduled to be completed at the end of 2003. He said the Lok Ma Chau link with West Rail in Hong Kong would be an encouraging element for residents. Director of Shenzhen Notary Public Office Guan Zhongxiu said all the developments in the exhibition had been approved and regulated by the Shenzhen Urban Planning & Land Administration Bureau. Developers must obtain planning and pre-sale permits from the bureau or related government departments before sale. Last year transactions involving more than five million sq metres were completed in the Shenzhen property market, according to bureau statistics. This represented a 25 per cent rise over 1998. The second-hand sector recorded transactions of 1.49 million sq metres, a 48 per cent rise from the previous year. Vacant space at the end of last year was 2.74 million sq metres, a drop of 17.32 per cent from the year before. Some developers at the exhibition said enquiries for developments in Shenzhen had risen since discussions began on the 24-hour border opening. Many large developers, including Hutchison Whampoa, China Overseas, and Citic Pacific, have invested in projects in Shenzhen. Hutchison released at the show the first phase of Le Parcin Futian at an average price of about HK$7,000 per sq metre. Each unit is about 800 to 1,300 sq ft.