Shanghai and Hangzhou have announced measures aimed at propping up the softening property market, in a move that has prompted more potential homebuyers to view flats but failed so far to boost sales, according to real estate agents. Shanghai's public housing agency has raised its ceiling on mortgage lending to households by 20 per cent to as much as 600,000 yuan (HK$681,300) from 500,000 yuan on Tuesday. 'More people have turned up to look at show flats in different housing projects in Shanghai,' said Clement Luk Shing, a director and assistant general manager at Centaline (China) Property. The number of bookings to view flats this weekend had risen 10 per cent from a week earlier, Mr Luk said. Although Shanghai was the only first-tier city to join a dozen of other local authorities propping up sales, he said relaxation of one rule was not enough to fuel transactions. Homebuyers, who in general asked for a discount of up to 30 per cent, suggested they remained cautious of the market outlook, he said. Jing Ulrich, the chairman of China equities at JP Morgan, said property prices in Shanghai, the most open and integrated market on the mainland, were particularly vulnerable to the global market turmoil. 'We would expect any additional support for the property market to be directed towards the promotion of mass-market home ownership, rather than high-end development,' Mrs Ulrich said. 'With little structural reason for a sustained downturn in the mass housing market, property prices may recover promptly when sentiment turns positive.' The Hangzhou municipal government issued 24 stimulus measures for the property market on Monday. They included subsidies for property transaction taxes and relaxation of the payment period for land uses and project completion period to ease financing pressure on developers. Hangzhou would also offer residential status to migrants buying homes in the city's old area in addition to new area in existing rules, the city government said on its website. Wang Deyong, a director at Citic Securities, said the measures would help market sentiment but not transaction volume. 'People are still worrying about the economy,' he said. Mr Wang said property prices would not bottom out until prices across the country fell a further 20 to 30 per cent. George Yeung Tat, a general manager at DTZ's Hangzhou office, said the impact would become clearer when the city's property trading exhibition began this weekend. Agents said property prices in prime Shanghai locations had fallen only 10 per cent since early this year but transaction volume had plummeted 60 per cent. Sales in Hangzhou had fallen 50 per cent and some new projects had been offered at a 30 per cent discount during a week-long promotion, they said.