Analysts at several brokerages have dismissed talk of a property sector recovery, despite improved sales in the primary market. They argued the upturn would be almost impossible to sustain in the economic slowdown and pointed out that the secondary market remained subdued. HSBC Securities, in its latest report, rejected suggestions that recovery in the residential market could be seen in recent sales at Victoria Towers in Tsim Sha Tsui, developed by Cheung Kong (Holdings), and Sorrento in Kowloon Station, developed by a Wharf-led consortium. It said genuine recovery would be unlikely next year despite falling interest rates, government priming of the market and sweeteners offered by developers. 'Price stability cannot be achieved without an active combined primary and secondary market, as the secondary market is the biggest component of the residential market,' the report said, adding that secondary-market activity remained subdued. More reliable signs of recovery would be developers no longer offering sweeteners to attract buyers, and vendors in the secondary market not needing to cut prices to sell units. In a note to clients, ABN Amro said industry sources indicated to the firm that Cheung Kong and Wharf had sold just 400 units in Victoria Towers and Sorrento over the weekend, not the reported 550. 'This lends support to our belief that response was merely mediocre and there is no room for any price increase,' it said. Any price increase, like the one recently announced by Sun Hung Kai Properties (effective from December 3), should be a gimmick, offset by extra cash rebates, ABN Amro said. However, UBS Warburg's view is different. The securities house said in a report the Hong Kong housing market had been on track towards a full-scale recovery from the impact of the September 11 attacks by late this month. It said about 90,000 people flocked to see show flats last weekend, 50,000 people at Sorrento and 40,000 at Victoria Towers. The weekend also saw the return of value investors, with 30 per cent of Victoria Towers and 10 per cent of Sorrento units bought by long-term investors, it said. JPMorgan maintained a cautious attitude to the sector, saying it needed at least another one to two months to confirm a recovery. The firm said that without a real recovery in the economy, it was not convinced sales volumes could be sustained at more than 2,000 to 3,000 units a month or that prices would rise in the near future. It believed recent strong sales were a release of pent-up demand due to slow activity in the second and third quarters. Over the past two years, developers could not consistently sell more than 2,000 units a month for three consecutive months, JPMorgan said.