A RECORD-breaking office sale has been completed in Shenzhen by Richard Ellis and it could lead to a wave of investment in the city's secondhand property market, the estate agency claimed. A 19,000-square-foot office floor at the Shenzhen Development Centre was bought for $45 million by a large European bank based in Amsterdam. The bank will use the premises to house its Shenzhen branch. The office was sold as secondhand premises in the city's tertiary property market. Richard Ellis believes overseas investment in the Shenzhen property market will increase significantly following the sale, pushing up prices. Alan Lee, senior manager at Richard Ellis, said: ''Multi-national firms usually choose to lease rather than purchase their offices in China. ''This bank's move shows their long-term view and confidence in doing business in China. It also demonstrates that more and more companies now consider office properties as one of the best investments in China.'' According to Dominic Leung, director at Richard Ellis, the sale showed it was now easier to sell second-hand properties on the mainland. ''The sale means investors really do not have to worry about being stuck with a property,'' he said. Despite the austerity measures introduced by the Chinese government last year, commercial property values in major cities such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou have remained stable for the past six months, fuelling additional confidence in the local office market, Mr Leung said. ''In Guangzhou, we noticed a three per cent increase in office prices for the last quarter of 1993,'' he said. But, according to the estate agency's figures, residential values in Shenzhen have dropped by as much as five and 10 per cent in some cases.