Lifted by improved investment sentiment and strong economic growth, Hong Kong property transactions climbed to a two-year high during the first half of the year. As of June 28, overall property transactions, including primary and secondary residential, commercial and industrial sales, increased 30 per cent to 61,463 cases and rose 31 per cent in value to HK$215.7 billion, reaching the highest levels since the second half of 2005, according to Ricacorp Properties. 'The overwhelming figures were encouraged by a number of positive factors, such as the bull run on the stock market, a stamp duty reduction for residential properties under HK$2 million, a lower interest rate environment and capital inflows from mainland investors,' said Ricacorp Properties executive director Willy Liu Wai-keung. He added that total transaction volumes could peak at 136,000 cases by the end of the year - a 40 per cent increase on last year. The secondary residential market was still dominating the overall property market with total transactions up 25 per cent to 43,674 cases on turnover of HK$126.4 billion during the six-month period. For the primary market, registered transactions surged 11 times to 8,857 cases in the first half, while the value of transactions hit a three-year high of HK$54.6 billion on the back of strong sales of luxury houses and flats. Over the weekend, HKR International announced that 137 La Rossa units in Tung Chung were sold at an average price of HK$3,250 per square foot, generating HK$350 million in revenue for the group. The developer said 10,000 people had visited the show flats over the weekend. The company also announced that another 50 units would be put up for sale to meet market demand. 'With the strong response for high-end developments such as Sun Hung Kai Properties' No8 Severn Road on the Peak and the Vineyard in Yuen Long, developers are looking at launching more high-end residential developments in the second half for better margins,' said an analyst at a local brokerage. A number of traditional luxury projects are in the pipeline for launch in the second half, including Bel-Air Phase 6 in Island South, the Babington Path project and No31 Robinson Road in Mid-Levels, property agents said. The property market peaked in 1997 with monthly turnover of 22,669 transactions, but the market collapsed twice, in 2000 and 2003, once due to a stock bubble and subsequently to the outbreak of Sars. However, the market recovered in late 2004 on the back of an economic rebound and lower unemployment. Over the past 10 years, 1.05 million flats have been sold at a turnover of more than HK$3.04 trillion, according to figures from the Land Registry.