Tomson Group gambles on riverside units at up to 110,000 yuan per sq metre A Taiwan property developer yesterday bucked the market trend by putting some luxury flats on the banks of the Huangpu River up for sale at a mainland record price - more than the average cost of an apartment in Manhattan. The Tomson Group offered 74 of the 220 units at its Tomson Haijing Garden, in the Lujiazui financial district of Pudong, at between 80,000 yuan and 110,000 yuan per square metre. The price is almost double the previous record of 58,000 yuan for the Rich Gate project near Xintiandi in the city centre. A Tomson spokeswoman said: 'We selected the record price because we have the best location. We are aiming at customers who can pay that price.' She declined further comment. The average price of a Manhattan apartment in the third quarter was US$984 per square foot, according to the Prudential Douglas Elliman Manhattan Market Overview Report. That works out to about 86,000 yuan a square metre. The Tomson Haijing Garden comprises four high-rise buildings, two of 40 storeys and two of 44 storeys, on the east bank of the Huangpu River. The area of the site is 20,000 sq metres, half of which is covered open, green space. The total construction area is 142,000 sq metres. The size of the homes ranges from 434 to 1,200 sq metres. One property analyst said that the flats were probably aimed at non-mainland clients with some to be sold in Shanghai and some abroad. 'This is a record price,' he said. 'In the developments nearby, the prices are between 50,000 yuan and 70,000 yuan. 'The Tomson site is closest to the river and you can clearly see Puxi (the west bank of the river). 'The macroeconomic measures have had only a limited impact on this sector of the market. There is a demand.' Tomson is taking a big gamble. Earlier this month, a research report by Colliers International found prices of luxury properties in Shanghai fell in the third quarter as potential buyers took a wait-and-see attitude. It said the average price of a luxury property, defined as worth at least 20,000 yuan per square metre, fell 4.5 per cent from US$3,280 per square metre in the second quarter to US$3,132 in the third. In the first quarter, the figure was US$3,263. The vacancy rate for luxury properties fell to 11.3 per cent from 11.7 per cent in the second quarter, as developers slowed new projects for fear of weak demand, it said. The market's villa segment has been hard hit by central and city government measures since March that ended the city's six-year property bull run and caused a sharp drop in turnover with the biggest impact on investors looking to buy for rent rather for than own use. The analyst said average prices in Shanghai had fallen 10 per cent to 15 per cent from their peaks in March. 'This year the downward pressure will continue. Over the next one to two years, it is hard to judge,' he said. 'The macroeconomic measures affect short-term investors, like those from Wenzhou, but not long-term investment or people planning to live in the properties they buy.' Zhang Hongming, a director of the Real Estate Research Centre at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, this week said that because of the government measures, the city would have 10 million sq metres of empty flats by the end of this year, closest to the record levels of 1996 and 1997. 'The demand for investment and speculation has fallen more than 50 per cent this year. We are in the downward part of the cycle which will continue for two and possibly three years,' he said.