A revival in buying sentiment has prompted several developers to bring new residential projects to the market with competitive pricing strategies. Riding on the back of a rebound in property sales volumes and share prices, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Cheung Kong (Holdings), and New World Development are all racing to release new projects offering a combined 3,700 units. Forthcoming projects to be marketed will include SHKP's the Latitude in San Po Kong; Cheung Kong's Central Park Towers development phase two in Tin Shui Wai, and its Le Prestige development in Tseung Kwan O; and New World Development's Emerald Green in Yuen Long. Profits reported last year by leading developers nosedived partly because of a decline in revenues from property sales as the worsening global financial crisis prompted them to defer marketing their new projects to avoid selling into a downturn. But the stronger sales performance of recent weeks - albeit at lowered prices - has now prompted a review of this strategy. 'Developers will become more active in launching new projects this month and next month,' said Eric Yuen Chi-fung, head of research at Dao Heng Securities. Two smaller-scale new projects were greeted with enthusiasm by buyers last month. Chinese Estates Holdings sold 130 units at i-home in Tai Kok Tsui at prices that ranged between HK$4,000 and HK$5,400 per square foot. In the same area, Florient Rise, a residential project jointly developed by Nan Fung Group and the Urban Renewal Authority, secured buyers for 220 units or about 42 per cent of the total of 552 units on offer. Prices of most Florient Rise units ranged between HK$5,200 and HK$6,396 per square foot. Mr Yuen attributed the positive response mainly to the fact that developers adopted a lower price strategy to entice buyers. 'Without doubt, today's prices for the new projects are definitely lower than 12 months ago,' he said. The stronger demand was also coming off a lower base, Mr Yuen said, pointing out that in the first quarter of the year only about 1,000 new units were sold compared to an average of 900 units sold per month this time last year. Sales in the secondary market also improved in the first quarter as a result of lower mortgages and selling prices, which were down about 15 per cent from the final quarter of last year, he said. 'Whether growth in sales volumes and prices is sustainable will be determined by the economic performance in the second half,' he said. However, with unemployment still higher, he believed property prices would continue to adjust downwards. Paul Louie, the regional head of property research at Nomura International (Hong Kong), said it was unlikely that developers would try to raise prices significantly owing to stiff competition for buyers and as they remained sensitive to price.