The impact of the pneumonia outbreak on Hong Kong's property market is hitting hard, with agents predicting the volume of transactions could plunge by 30 per cent this month. Homebuyers are too frightened to visit show flats for fear of catching the disease, they say. The warning comes amid fears about the impact on the economy generally. A government package of policy initiatives concerning the property market was unveiled late last year in a bid to arrest a slide in prices. Evidence of the impact of the outbreak was seen yesterday when the Housing Society had a low turnout for the sale of its residential development, Serenity Place, in Tseung Kwan O. Agents estimated that only half of the expected homebuyers had turned out, with most wearing face masks. The purchases were made in the morning, and the sales office was unusually quiet for the whole afternoon. Estate agents estimated that 50 of the 336 units had been sold. The whole project comprises 1,562 units. The Housing Society has released the first batch of 168 units for sale at about $1,990 per square foot, compared with the second batch of 168 units at $2,025 per sq ft. 'The slow sales are absolutely down to the virus,' said Willy Liu, executive director of Ricacorp Properties. 'The overall number of people viewing flats have dropped this week, compared with the previous weeks. 'Projects close to Amoy Gardens could be facing disaster. Nobody dares to visit flats there,' he said. About 10 per cent of the company's property owners have closed their flats for viewing in order to avoid possible contact with strangers, he said. Mr Liu believed property transactions in the second-hand market could see a 30 per cent fall. 'It certainly will be a severe blow to our struggling business,' he said. Ricacorp also released a survey yesterday which found 25 per cent of the 248 respondents planned to stop visiting show flats until the risk was reduced. About 40 per cent of them said they would see less flats in the current climate, while 17 per cent of the respondents said they would still view flats but would be taking precautions, such as wearing a face mask.