Unusual 18-month completion period attractive for buyers and speculators Cheung Kong (Holdings) is offering an extended completion period for buyers at its luxury Legend development in Tai Hang, highlighting souring market conditions but potentially providing an attractive vehicle for speculators. After paying a 5 per cent deposit, buyers could sit on their investment in the 376-unit project for up to 18 months before finalising the deal, the developer said yesterday. On top of the initial deposit, buyers would have to pay a further 15 per cent of a property's price within five months of signing a preliminary contract. Cheung Kong sales manager Josephine Leung said the remaining 80 per cent would be paid on completion of the project, at the end of next year. Property agents said more than 15 units had been reserved by potential buyers at prices ranging from $15,000 to $20,000 per square foot, but sales director Francis Wong said Cheung Kong had not yet received presale consents and no units had been sold. Flat sizes start at 1,500 square feet. The payment offer is significantly more aggressive than for other new projects, which generally provide a completion period of about one year and deposits totalling up to 30 per cent of the property price. Analysts said a longer completion period would enhance the project's value as an investment instrument as buyers bet on property appreciation in 18 months. 'Investors will be willing to pay a premium for the property as they are given a period to wait for potential price growth by paying a small portion of the property price,' said BNP Peregrine Paribas regional property analyst Adrian Ngan Wai-hung. Ms Leung said Cheung Kong would offer a 3 per cent discount on a unit's price if buyers completed the transaction immediately. Property agents said the developer was anxious to drive up sentiment as the property market was losing its lustre. 'From the way they market the project, the developer is keen to sell the units fast. I guess they are a bit worried that much demand for new luxury projects has already been absorbed by the Arch,' said a property agency director, referring to Sun Hung Kai Properties' record-breaking West Kowloon project. The property market has seen signs of slowing recently, with a plunging volume of secondary transactions. According to Ricacorp Properties, the number of secondary transactions in 50 major housing estates dropped 57 per cent to 382 in the first two weeks of this month compared with the same period last month. Property agents said more than 400 of the 1,057 units at the Arch were for sale in the secondary market. Centaline Property Agency said a low-rise, 530 sqft unit bought at $3.8 million sold for $4.05 million earlier this month.