Mainland developers are banking on surging sales volumes of 30 per cent to 100 per cent to lift residential prices 5 per cent to 10 per cent this year as domestic demand continues to increase, according to an investor forum organised by ABN Amro. The eight mainland developers - China Overseas Land & Investment, Shanghai Forte, Sinolink, Guangzhou R&F, Guangzhou Investment, Beijing Capital Land, Baoye Group and Hopson Development - heard how the Chinese property market was set to grow exponentially during the three-day conference in Hong Kong and Singapore. Anton Kwang, director of property research at ABN Amro, said the sustained increase in China's urban population from 530 million to 860 million in 10 years was one of the key drivers of the steady rise in home prices. Other factors included reduced land supply and the expectation of a salary increase among civil servants in July, which could fuel demand, he said. Because of escalating land prices in the mainland, Mr Kwang said developers preferred to replenish their land bank through private negotiation rather than competing with Hong Kong developers at public land auctions. 'China Overseas Land said it may consider pursuing small mergers and acquisitions with property companies to obtain land and team up with real estate funds to bid for large sites,' he said. Fan Cheuk-wan, head of China research at ABN Amro, believed financially troubled second and third-tier developers were likely to become the company's acquisition targets. She said she did not expect the central government to introduce big clampdown measures on the property market this year since its new policy is mainly to promote private consumption.