The developer tops market forecasts with a profit of $697m for the first half Luxury residential developer Kerry Properties plans to release properties worth about $1.3 billion in Hong Kong and the mainland over the next nine months, and says the property market is poised to deliver excellent returns. Citing strong sales at rival Henderson Land Development's Grand Promenade residential project in Hong Kong Island East, the company projects steady growth in home prices despite an imminent rise in interest rates. Henderson said it had realised more than $4 billion in revenue from the sale of more than 800 units at Grand Promenade, its flagship project in Sai Wan Ho, in just two days this week. Kerry chairman Ang Keng Lam believed that an interest-rate rise would have little impact on the market, pointing out that the prime rate, at 5 per cent now, is at a historic low. During the property boom of the 1990s, the prime rate was as high as 10 per cent. 'We are very optimistic about the strength of the property market,' Mr Ang said. Executive director Steven Ho Shut-kan said the property market had improved since last month. 'Sales at our Residence Oasis in Tseung Kwan O recorded a fivefold increase when compared with March,' Mr Ho said. The firm reported stronger than expected interim results yesterday, with profit of $697.97 million for the six months to June on strong property sales and an absence of provisional charges. The performance exceeded expectations of $620 million. The developer posted a net loss of $591.06 million for the same period last year, including a $1.1 billion provisional charge to cover a revaluation deficit for its investment and development properties. 'It is a strong performance,' said Winnie Chiu, a property analyst at DBS Vickers Securities who credited strong sales, improved rental income and a sharp rebound in hotel business. The brokerage firm projects Kerry will report a full-year profit of $1.1 billion. Interim turnover rose 45 per cent to $2.63 billion. The company proposed an interim dividend of 20 cents per share, compared with 13 cents a year ago. Property sales in Hong Kong and the mainland accounted for 62 per cent of Kerry's profit during the period under review. Forthcoming projects for release include the commercial project Enterprise Square in Kowloon Bay and two residential projects: Constellation Cove in Tai Po and the Cliveden in Tsuen Wan. Kerry hopes to fetch about $1 billion from sales at the three projects over the next nine months. On the mainland, Kerry plans to release for sale up to 300 million yuan in residential projects this year. The Kerry Group is the largest shareholder in the SCMP Group, which publishes the South China Morning Post. Shares of Kerry Properties rose 1.59 per cent yesterday to close at $12.75.