The launch of the first mass market residential project since the government unveiled its stimulus package three weeks ago has attracted strong buyer interest. Estate agents said about 400 flats at Queen's Terrace, Sheung Wan, had been sold at the weekend's 'internal sale', with another 6,000 prospective buyers registering their interest in recent days. 'Based on the response, we saw huge pent-up demand for flats that are sold at reasonable prices and with good locations,' Midland Realty Central and West Mid-Levels senior district manager Patrick Fung Kim-chiu said yesterday. Buyer interest in the 1,148-unit project was the strongest since the nearby Hollywood Terrace project was launched in 1999. That project attracted 5,480 purchasing applications for just 550 units. Mr Fung attributed the keen interest in the project to its attractive pricing and core location. At an average HK$2,659 per square foot, or 10 per cent to 15 per cent below second-hand flats in the same area, the project is priced at a post-Asian crisis low for the first few units. However, the transacted price during the internal sale reached HK$3,200 to HK$3,900 per square foot. The price is not comparable with the average selling price because the flats sold were on upper floors. The project is being jointly developed by Cheung Kong (Holdings) and New World Development. The Sheung Wan development is a large housing project in a core urban area, and so response to the sale was seen as a key indicator of how far market sentiment had responded to the stimulus measures. The government announced its strongest measures recently to boost the property market - the scrapping of regular land auctions and the cessation of the subsidised Home Ownership Scheme. Surpass Property Strategy Consultant managing director Charles Lai Chin-pang said the robust sale of Queen's Terrace could reflect a steady demand for urban flats priced at reasonable levels. But he said it might be too early to point to a recovery in the residential market. Details of the timing of the public sale have not been announced, but Mr Fung estimated that strong internal sales could prompt developers to push for a speedy public sale to cash in on the robust market sentiment. Mr Fung expected the public sale to start within a week.