Mainlander pays $28,000 per sq ft for flat; experts warn of market bubble A luxury Mid-Levels apartment has been sold for more than $28,000 per square foot - topping the peak prices of 1997. The sale of the 4,620 sq ft home at Branksome Crest on Tregunther Path set a price record for residential properties. Kerry Properties sold the 51st floor flat to a mainland-based property developer for $130 million, or $28,139 per sq ft, according to Centaline Property Agency, which arranged the deal. The unit includes an 860 sq ft terrace and a private swimming pool. The price was a record high, said Victor Chan Wah-sing, senior associate director of Centaline's luxury division. It far exceeded the 1997 record - $24,600 per sq ft for a home at Villa Rosa in Tai Tam. The sale, which prompted property experts to warn of a potential bubble in the top-end property sector, was revealed on the same day the government announced a 26 per cent rise in the number of property transactions last month. It was the first rise after five consecutive months of decline. Spurred by a recovery in home buying sentiment, a total of 8,973 deals were lodged with the Land Registry last month, compared with 7,121 deals in August. Last month's figure represented a 30.6 per cent increase over September last year. Property agents said buying confidence had surged in the wake of the improved economic outlook, new development launches and the 95 per cent mortgage introduced by the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation in July. However, Pang Shiu-kee, head of property consultant SK Pang Surveyors, said the surge in prices, especially in the luxury sector, was triggered by speculation. 'The luxury residential market has entered a period of risk,' he warned. 'Even veteran property investors agreed that home prices have risen too fast.' Last month, one entrepreneur bought a house at 28 Gough Hill Road from a private company controlled by Richard Li Tzar-kai for $170 million, or $21,000 per sq ft. Shun Tak Holdings managing director Pansy Ho Chiu-king, daughter of casino mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun, earlier paid $118 million for a 5,000 sq ft house in the same development. At $23,000 per sq ft, it was the highest price paid since 1997. Compared with the luxury market, Mr Pang said the mass housing market would see stronger support from both end-users and investors. Analysts generally believe that in the mass housing market prices will rise by 10 to 30 per cent next year. Midland Realty chief analyst Buggle Lau Ka-fai said he expected prices in both primary and secondary markets would continue to rise. Last month's Land Registry figures reflect market conditions in August as there is usually a four-to-six-week lag between sales and their registration. The total value of sales for the month was $24.3 billion, up 33.8 per cent over August and 75.1 per cent over September last year.