Chinese Estates Holdings outbid eight contenders to win the development rights to a small residential redevelopment in Tai Kok Tsui. The project on Larch Street will involve about 152 flats, providing a gross floor area of 119,000 sq ft. Estimated investment cost is about $500 million. The Urban Renewal Authority invited tenders for the redevelopment on August 19. There were bids from players such as Cheung Kong (Holdings), Sino Land and Sun Hung Kai Properties. Smaller developers included K Wah International and Chuang's Consortium. The project, which is situated on a 13,000 sq ft site, will be residential with some commercial space and about 4,300 sq ft of landscaped area. It is expected to be completed by 2009. Meanwhile, property agents projected sale and purchase agreements signed last month would dip to between 8,830 and 8,930, from July's 8,933. Centaline Property Agency, however, estimated the value of contracts registered during the month rose 2.9 per cent from July to $29.99 billion, suggesting residential prices remained firm despite the interest-rate increases. Compared with a year ago, the transaction volume last month jumped more than 25 per cent, according to Centaline Property. Midland Realty chief analyst Buggle Lau Ka-fai said the purchase volume should top 9,500 this month as developers released more projects.