PRICES in Hongkong's luxury property market will continue to rise despite efforts to cool the market, according to analysts. Buyers could pay up to 15 per cent more for top class homes by the end of the year. Figures from First Pacific Davies (FPD) released yesterday reveal that luxury unit prices jumped an average of 21 per cent in the first six months of this year. The second quarter showed a rise of more than 12 per cent. Analysts said only a severe downturn in the Chinese economy would halt the rise. In an effort to squeeze out speculators and to stabilise the market, the Hongkong Bank lowered its maximum lending rate for homes worth more than $5 million from 70 to 60 per cent on Monday. Dicky Yip, Hongkong Bank retail sales and services senior manager, said the $5 million threshold was determined on the basis of how much it would cost to repay the mortgage. The figure meant that people earning up to $50,000 a month and borrowing within their means would not be penalised by the lower mortgage ceiling, he said. But analysts believe the bank's move will have little effect on prices, which, they say, will continue to increase, even though buyers will have to front with 40 per cent of the home's value before getting a loan. Other banks ruled out decreases. They said mortgage deals went through on an individual basis. A Hang Seng Bank spokesman said: ''We have always been very selective in this area, lending only to long-time customers whom we know well and whose financial standing is known to us.'' Industry watchers believe the move will have little effect on the market and will take some time to filter through the system. Mary Seddon, FPD executive director, said: ''Genuine end-users will not be affected and will continue to purchase. ''It may affect people looking for capital growth if they have three or four properties and are looking for bank finance. ''Or it may have an impact on whole building transactions where bank finance is necessary,'' she said. ''We have seen an enormous increase in prices in the first half of this year. I don't think the bank's decision will influence that one way or the other.'' David Faulkner, of Brooke Hillier Parker (BHP), said Hongkong Bank was sending out a ''psychological'' warning that it fully supported the Government's aim to keep speculators at bay. The arrival of the traditionally quiet summer season would cool the market, he added. ''At the top end, there may be rises of 10 to 15 per cent for the remainder of the year. ''Prices are getting towards the top of the range. If there was another 20 to 25 per cent rise, then we may become a little concerned.'' Speculators have moved into the market in recent months, sending prices spiralling upwards to what many regard as unhealthy levels. Mainland investors are ploughing cash into property deals as a US dollar hedge against a weak yuan. More people have been attracted by low interest rates and above-inflation prices, encouraging them to put their cash in property. Rental incomes have also shot up, partly due to the demand created by the growing number of international firms arriving in the territory. Analysts also believe the recession in the West has prompted more investors to push money into Hongkong's strong economy. Two months ago, investors in residential luxury property - flats of at least 1,000 square feet - made up about one fifth of purchases. It is now thought to be more than double that. A house at Number Four Black's Link, Deepwater Bay Road, fetched $96.6 million last month - the highest price yet paid for a residential property in Hongkong. Swire Properties' One Robinson Place development in Mid-Levels - which was only launched last month - has seen apartments increase by as much as $500,000. Julie Baldwin, a valuation and consultancy director at Colliers Jardine, said prices would probably continue to go up until the next major set of luxury developments came on stream in 1997. ''The only problem would be a major change in the Chinese economy, which would definitely have an effect on Hongkong,'' she said.