Top UBS analyst Franklin Lam has sold three of his 30-odd apartments, but the perennial property bull denies any change of heart. 'Selling out of a number of properties does not mean that I am pessimistic about the sector,' said Mr Lam, UBS's head of regional property research, adding that he stands by his bullish projection for the housing sector up to 2008. 'I maintain my projection for a five-year property up-cycle [starting from 2004],' he said. 'The gain in the first three years of this cycle should amount to 90 per cent.' Mr Lam still owns about 30 long-term investment properties in Hong Kong, ranging from a 500 square foot shoebox in Wan Chai to a 3,800 sqft Tai Po palace. His most recent disposals include $18.38 million for a HarbourSide unit at Kowloon Station, $8.38 million for a flat in the Belchers in Pokfulam and $7.3 million for a property in Lyttelton Garden, Mid-Levels. Excluding transaction and interest costs, Mr Lam is believed to have booked a profit of more than $9 million on the three sales. Mr Lam was prompted to sell following the surge in property prices over the past 18 months, during which time rental yields at the re-priced luxury properties had fallen to low levels. Property agents endorsed this view, saying that luxury property rental yields have fallen from 6 per cent to below 3 per cent since the end of 2003, during which time home prices have soared as much as 100 per cent. Mr Lam insisted that it was normal for him periodically to review and rebalance his portfolio of properties 'I may buy more units when I get good offers,' he said, adding that he considered property hedge funds attractive investment vehicles at the moment. 'Most of these purchases were made after we published [a bullish UBS property] report in the third quarter of 2003,' he said. In that report, Mr Lam said housing prices would rise more than 60 per cent in 2004-05. He rejected speculation that his reports helped drive up the prices of his properties. 'I am not as influential as some people think,' he said, arguing he had merely put his money where his mouth was. Mr Lam's key purchases over the past year include a number of Sorrento units at Kowloon Station for more than $50 million. As of the end of last year, he had also bought six houses in Tai Po for more than $90 million.