Cheung Kong (Holdings) is discounting prices at its Banyan Garden project in Cheung Sha Wan by 6 per cent in the face of aggressive price cutting at rival Metro Harbour View in Tai Kok Tsui. The escalation in the residential price war follows weaker-than-expected sales at HKR International's Coastal Skyline in Tung Chung, which was seen as a major test for market sentiment after the government unveiled a package of stimulus measures to support the property market. Cheung Kong sales manager Francis Wong said yesterday that 12 units at Banyan Garden Block 6 were being released for sale at an average price of HK$2,510 per square foot. This compared with an average price of HK$2,670 per square foot achieved for 32 units last weekend, he said. The cheapest of the latest units released is HK$1.55 million and the lowest average price HK$2,374 per square foot. 'Dao Heng Bank is offering buyers up to 90 per cent mortgage with free insurance premium,' he said, adding the lowest interest rate was 2.25 per cent below prime. Dao Heng consumer banking vice-president Kelvin Chung said the insurance premium for a 90 per cent mortgage was up to 3.3 per cent of a flat's value. Cheung Kong had realised HK$4.6 billion for about 2,100 units sold at Banyan Garden in the past year, Mr Wong said. Henderson Land last week slashed prices for the remaining units at its Metro Harbour View project by 11 per cent ahead of the internal sale of Coastal Skyline. A new batch of 128 units at Metro Harbour View were priced at HK$1.43 million, regardless of the floor, an average price of HK$2,850 per square foot. HKR International announced yesterday that 433 units at Coastal Skyline had been sold in the past three days, one-fifth of the whole project. Estate agents had expected about 1,000 units might be sold. Centaline Property Agency director Sandia Lau Ying-lam said more than 1,000 prospective buyers had registered at Metro Harbour View in the past few days. She said market response was good due to competitive prices. 'HK$1.43 million is the cheapest price tag for newly completed two-bedroom flats in West Kowloon,' she said. The latest preferential package provided by Cheung Kong to offload the remaining units at Banyan Garden is in response to aggressive price cutting at Metro Harbour View and The Liberte, developed by Sun Hung Kai Properties and Shun Tak Holdings in Cheung Sha Wan. Ms Lau said prices for the remaining 600 or so units at The Liberte were negotiable. The average price for the nearly completed units was about HK$2,800 per square foot, she said. Banyan Garden, with a total of 2,528 units, is due to be completed in June 2004.