TAI PO CENTRE PRICES in Tai Po Centre dropped $37 per square foot to $2,860 in September after an August peak. According to Brooke Hillier Parker (BHP) research, the price trend is expected to continue to level or move downward until spring of next year. The price movement of the New Territories' development is in line with others in the area. ''The mass market is definitely softening,'' said BHP partner David Faulkner. Price increases and restrictions on lending are affecting those first-time buyers attracted to the traditionally more affordable development at Tai Po. But one advantage to the development is its proximity to the KCR line. ''It will not fall as much if there is a major correction in the market,'' Mr Faulkner said. ''Those closer to the transport hubs are more protected.''