The Macau government must proceed cautiously if it tries to cool off the property market, analysts say. They point to Hong Kong's bitter lessons in the 1990s, when tough interventionist measures were introduced to force down flat prices during the market boom. In a major crackdown on property speculation in 1994, the Hong Kong government reduced pre-sale time limits and the number of flats allowed to be sold by developers through internal deals. Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa set out a plan in 1997 for 85,000 flats a year to be built so that two-thirds of Hong Kong families would own their flats by 2007. The move was widely blamed for the collapse of the property market in the years that followed. 'If it is a bubble market and you make the bubble burst you solve no problem, but hurt the economy. No one will benefit,' said Eddie Hui, an associate professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's department of building and real estate. He said that imposing a resale restriction, similar to that under Hong Kong's Home Ownership Scheme, might be useful in the short term. 'Say, for example, you ban people from trading incomplete flats or ban owners from reselling their flats within three or six months,' Mr Hui said. The Macau government should increase supply as a long-term measure to stabilise prices, he said. Au Kam-san, an opposition legislator in Macau, said the rising property market would hit needy tenants and dash the hopes of those living in cramped flats to improve their living quality. He said the Macau government should increase the supply of government flats to cool the property market - a similar model to Hong Kong's public housing mechanism. Centaline Property Agency senior manager Wong Leung-sing said the Macau government should realise that any cooling measures were bound to fail. 'Hong Kong tried its best to cool down prices in the 1990s, but in vain,' Mr Wong said. 'Home prices finally fell on the basis of declining demand amid a slowing economy.'