Secondary market sales have rebounded significantly over the last few weeks amid signs that long-term investors are back in the hunt for property assets. However, analysts warn the trend may be short-lived in the light of continued weak economic fundamentals. Data collated from 50 large housing estates monitored by Ricacorp Properties shows that 533 units changed hands last week, up 26.9 per cent from 420 transactions recorded a week earlier to a 61-week high. Deal volumes have now risen for four weeks. However, primary market sales declined over the weekend due to the absence of new project launches, with just about 40 units sold, down from 200 units the previous week. Agents expect primary transactions will pick up with projects due for launch including New World Development's Emerald Green in Yuen Long, phase two of Central Park Towers developed by Cheung Kong (Holdings) in Tin Shui Wai and Sun Hung Kai Properties' Latitude in San Po Kong. The three projects offer 2,899 units in total. 'As a rough estimate, long-term investors in the market have about doubled compared to the fourth quarter,' said Louis Chan Wing-kit, a managing director at the residential department of Centaline Property Agency. Investment demand accounted for about 30 per cent of deals, he said, up from just 10 per cent at the market's low point following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Mr Chan attributed the increase in investor demand to the recent improved sentiment in the property market, fewer safe investment alternatives, and an anticipation of a weaker Hong Kong dollar. The Centa-City Leading Index, which tracks transaction prices in the secondary market, shows that home prices have gained 6.02 per cent since the beginning of the year. Willy Liu Wai-keung, a managing director at Ricacorp, said he expected a growing number of investors to come back to the market, but added that they only accounted for a small proportion of total transactions. Both Mr Chan and Mr Liu said the investors were mostly eyeing long-term capital gains, and speculators were not evident in the market yet. But despite the signs of a pick-up in demand, analysts and agents remained cautious on the market outlook, warning that the current rally was only a temporary technical rebound from an oversold situation in the fourth quarter when some owners panicked over the financial crisis. So long as market fundamentals including jobs and domestic and global economic growth rates remained weak, analysts expected average home prices in the mass market to drop a further 10 to 15 per cent this year from last year. Mr Chan forecast the role of investors would be significantly reduced once the current rally tailed off.