Speculators take a gamble on potential New Territories bonanza Lured by lower transaction costs, speculators big and small have penetrated the mass residential market in the New Territories right up to the Shenzhen border. They are gambling on the high growth potential of these units which, unlike urban flats, have not seen a significant rise in value over the past 12 months. Agents said the New Territories had become more attractive as prices were relatively low. Flats in Kingswood Villa in Tin Shui Wai, close to the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border, were about $1,900 per sq ft, compared with $3,500 to $5,000 per sq ft in mass housing estates in urban districts. The number of transactions at major housing estates in Sham Tseng, Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun, Sha Tin, Fanling, Tai Po and Tin Shui Wai rocketed by up to 40 per cent after the Chinese New Year, agents said. There were a number of high-profile transactions - veteran investor Lobo Law Ka-po paid $210 million for 110 units at The Aegean, Tuen Mun, and private developer Yu Tai Hing's Lo Siu-tong reportedly handed over more than $200 million for 100 units at the newly completed Anglers' Bay at 18 Castle Peak Road. Veteran speculator Chan Ching-pak, dubbed the White Tornado for his speedy purchases, said it was rotational buying. 'It is getting difficult to make money in the primary market as developers are pricing their projects out of market.' Last week, Sun Hung Kai Properties said the cheapest units at its project, The Arch, on top of Kowloon Station, would cost about $6 million, or 11,000 per sq ft. 'After the painful experience of the seven-year market slump, investors will become nervous once prices have reached an uncomfortable level,' he said. Mr Chan recently bought 10 units in new towns, including bargains at Tseung Kwan O, which can be accessed by the MTR and where transacted prices were $3,000 persq ft. Lo Chung-bun, senior manager at Ricacorp Properties' Sham Tseng branch said speculation had spread throughout the New Territories. 'We have seen big to small investors; even housewives are buying this time.' Agents said banks' offers of a 95 per cent mortgage for second-hand homes also encouraged more investors to enter the fray.