Cheung Kong (Holdings) is increasing price-discount offers to buyers of its phase-five Laguna Verde flats in Hunghom. Under a new mortgage subsidy scheme, the developer will be responsible for up to 24 months of buyers instalments on a 70 per cent mortgage. It means they can effectively save up to 9 per cent of the property price. Those who buy smaller flats are entitled for up to 18 months of the mortgage-instalment subsidy. The package aims to reduce up-graders' financial burdens in the first two years and so they are not under pressure to sell existing homes to buy into Laguna Verde. Previously, Cheung Kong's mortgage subsidy enabled buyers to defer paying their instalments on their 25 per cent second mortgages for a period of four years. The scheme amounted to a saving of 6 per cent in purchase price. However, sales manager Francis Wong dismissed suggestions that the new scheme was a price discount. Instead, he insisted it was tailor-made to meet different clients' needs. The developer would cut benefits offered to buyers as the number of unsold units reduced. It was releasing 12 units at Tower 25 of phase five at an average price of HK$4,321 per square foot. This was on a par with the prices in a previous launch, he said. Analysts said that while nominal prices remained unchanged, the developer was offering units with more favourable payment terms and this amounted to an effective price cut. Developers were desperate to lure upgraders, a demand sector which has been dampened by the weak property performance. Mr Wong said Tower 25 was the 'most valuable' block in Laguna Verde in terms of location and views. The developer would retain half of the tower for lease, so that only 128 units - worth an estimated HK$600 million - would be for sale. Cheung Kong was considering retaining 300 units of 1,400 square feet at phase four and phase five for lease, with a target monthly rental of HK$30 per square feet. Mr Wong said more than 400 units, worth HK$1.7 billion, had been sold in the 785-unit phase-five development.