Two leading international property consultants have joined the rush to Macau and look set to fuel competition in the sector. FPDSavills and Jones Lang LaSalle plan to open offices within weeks in the former Portuguese enclave, where prices soared more than 50 per cent last year. Two other leading agencies, Centaline Property Agency and Midland Realty, entered Macau's residential lease and sales market last year. FPDSavills managing director Raymond Lee Wai-man believes Macau is an untapped market with great potential for future growth. 'I do not feel the competition at all as the market is growing rapidly,' he said. FPDSavills will announce its Macau expansion plan on Monday. Last year, the company handled $1 billion worth of property transactions from almost nothing in 2003. William Wong Wing-lam, senior valuation director at FPDSavills, said deals valued at more than $100 million increased to 14 per cent last year, from 3 per cent in 2000. Mr Lee said empty office space with potential for hotel conversion has risen from $350 per square foot last year to as high as $1,300 per sq ft this year. 'Macau's property market will boom for the next two to three years,' he said. Given a shortage of international standard property consultants and strong demand across the board, Mr Lee expects FPDSavills' sales will double this year after the opening of a Macau office. Gregory Ku Ka-ho, who will be the managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle's Macau office, said the trend for multinational corporations to pursue property expansion in Macau would continue. 'We will focus on large-scale property transactions,' he said. Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels is the adviser to Las Vegas Sands and its US$12 billion development in Cotai. Las Vegas Sands last year said it planned to develop a 'strip' of 20 resorts with 60,000 rooms on Cotai. Centaline said its seven branches in Macau had generated commissions of $8 million since operations began in December. Of the 900 property transactions in Macau last month, Centaline handled 100. Mr Lee says Macau is not an investment threat to Hong Kong. 'Hong Kong and Macau are different markets,' he said. Hong Kong remained a favourite destination among international investors, while Macau was offering opportunities for resort development, he said. 'The two places should not have direct competition,' Mr Lee said.