Sales in Hong Kong's primary property market slumped to their second-lowest level this year over the weekend, with just 15 transactions concluded, or fewer than half the 35 units sold during the previous weekend, property agents said. The outcome was the second-weakest so far this year, after the previous lowest result for the weekend of March 29 and 30 when only 10 units changed hands. In another sign of poor sentiment in the primary market, Chinese Estates Holdings, the developer of MOD 595, appears to have stalled on the launch the residential project in Tai Kok Tsui. The developer has initiated its sales campaign by opening show flats and distributing price lists. But unlike the industry norm where sales begin a day after price lists are distributed, sales at the 85-unit MOD 595 project have yet to start, prompting speculation that the project was badly received. Ricacorp Properties managing director Willy Liu Wai-keung disputed the speculation and said developers had opted to extend their sales campaigns to capture market attention. Developers were in no hurry to sell their projects, he added. However, Dao Heng Securities analyst Eric Yuen Chi-fung said slower sales reflected weakening consumption power among buyers targeting the primary market. 'The Capitol [in Tseung Kwan O] sold over 2,000 units in a week, while the average take-up in the primary market is around 1,200 units per month. It takes time for the market to regain its energy and hence developers have slowed the sales process,' said Mr Yuen. UBS analyst Eric Wong also disputed the argument that developers were slowing the release of units because they were concerned about the market outlook. 'If they were pessimistic about the future, they would want to sell their assets as soon as possible [to cash in],' he said. Instead, said Mr Wong, sales had slowed because developers were upbeat about the future and intended to maximise profit. He added that The Capitol was an exception because that area had over 20,000 units available for sale. Mr Wong said that from his perspective the market outlook remained positive, and given the limited supply of new units in the pipeline he expected prices in the primary market would rise by 50 per cent between 2008 and 2009. In the secondary market, however, prices continued to drop for a third consecutive week. Market data from Ricacorp indicated that average transaction prices were down 0.5 per cent from the previous week, while the number of transactions in 50 key housing estates monitored by the property agency had rebounded 11.6 per cent to 367, from 329 a week earlier.