Property agency profits rose last year, with commissions surging on the back of the turnaround in Hong Kong's property sector. Centaline (Holdings) said last year's commissions rose 74 per cent to $2.96 billion, while the company handled a 37 per cent increase in transactions. 'Among the units, Centaline Property Agency was the major contributor with commissions of $1.42 billion, up 68 per cent from 2003,' the company said. Centaline (Holdings) has a number of units, of which Centaline Property Agency is one of the two biggest agents in Hong Kong. Another market leader, Midland Realty, which will announce its financial results today, is also expected to report a significant growth in profits. Ricacorp Properties, another unit owned by Centaline (Holdings), saw a 51 per cent growth in revenues, but no figures were provided. Agents said mass housing prices increased more than 35 per cent last year, while the growth was even higher in the luxury sector. The agencies reported a total of 123,480 deals last year, 41.4 per cent higher than the 87,309 in 2003 when the property market suffered from the Sars outbreak. Smaller property agent Century 21 (Hong Kong) said its commissions rose 110 per cent to $300 million last year. Chief executive Luke Ng Kai-man said the company would expand its network to 200 shops this year, up from the existing 120 branches, to capitalise on the fast growth in the sector. He expected commissions would increase to $600 million this year on the back of continuing positive market sentiment. Ricacorp Properties predicted home prices would rise 30 per cent and the total number of transactions would reach 130,000.