Short-term demand for detached houses in luxury residential areas is expected to be vigorous, with all eyes on Regalia Bay, by Regal Hotels International, which will be launched soon. The new development in Wong Ma Kok Street, Stanley, is the biggest house project on offer since the sale of Le Palais, by Sun Hung Kai Properties, in Tai Tam in 1998. Redhill Peninsular, in Tai Tam, is the largest housing development on Hong Kong Island, with 246 houses. It was completed in 1990. Property agents said there was a shortage of new detached or semi-detached houses in luxury areas, even though new supply for luxury flats was expected to be abundant in the near term. 'Quality houses in established residential areas such as The Peak and Island South are in demand,' said Midland Reality sales director Jeffrey Ng. He expected Regalia Bay would be a focus for the market when it was launched at the end of this month or early next month. 'Sales response will depend on the developer's selling price,' said Mr Ng. With a total floor area of 600,000 square feet, Regalia Bay comprises 139 houses ranging from 4,000 sq ft to more than 5,000 sq ft each. Regal Hotels holds a 70 per cent stake in the development after parent Paliburg Holdings last year transferred its 40 per cent stake to the hotel concern. China Overseas Land and Investment is a 30 per cent partner in the project. The site was bought for HK$5.5 billion at a government auction in 1997, when the property market was at its peak. The development cost was more than HK$7 billion. Regal Hotels executive director Donald Fan Tung said the selling price was not yet finalised but it would be pitched at more than HK$10,000 per square foot, which could bring total revenue of more than HK$6 billion. 'The price varies subject to the views the houses capture. If buyers purchase more than one house, they will be offered a discount,' said Mr Fan. He said the project was targeted at big families with several generations living together. Overseas Hong Kong residents are also their targets, he said. Gary Ng, senior manager of Centaline Property Agency, Shouson Hill branch, said the project would attract buyers who had lived in Redhill Peninsular for years and were looking for newly developed houses. It would also draw interest from the heads of industrial and trading firms whose offices were in the eastern areas of Hong Kong Island, such as Chai Wan. But the project face competition. Mr Ng cited the four-house development of Swire Properties at 3 Coombe Road and Sun Hung Kai Properties' Kelletteria, comprising five houses in Mount Kellett Road on The Peak. Regal Hotels would face a selling challenge if it priced its project at more than HK$13,000 square feet, given the better location of Swire Properties' development and Kelletteria. Swire Properties has sold one detached house of 4,436 sq ft for HK$70 million, equivalent to about HK$15,800 per square foot, and one semi-detached house of 4,378 sq ft for HK$63 million, or about HK$14,400 per square foot. Mr Ng said the number of house sales had risen in traditional residential areas, with eight houses sold so far this month. The sold houses included the two houses at 3 Coombe Road.