China Vanke, the largest developer on the mainland, has acquired a commercial-residential site in Foshan, Guangdong province, for 2.15 billion yuan (HK$2.44 billion) in the most expensive sale in the city in 20 months. As supply of large sites is limited, the 284,037-square-metre site attracted bids from Vanke, Poly Real Estate, China Overseas Land and Investment, Agile Property Holdings and Country Garden Holdings. Vanke's winning bid was 152 per cent higher than the opening bid of 852 million yuan. It was the most expensive sale since December 2007 in Foshan. Centaline (China) deputy managing director, Lai Kwok-kwong, said property prices in Foshan have risen 30 per cent in the first half of this year. He expects Vanke, which paid about 3,028 yuan per square metre for the site, to sell homes for 7,000 to 8,000 yuan per square metre. The site can be turned into a middle-class commercial and residential project with a total gross floor area of 710,040 sqmetres. An analyst said Vanke's recent acquisitions showed the developer was hungry in replenishing its land bank, thanks to strong property sales in the first half. The developer had a land bank of 30 million sqmetres at the end of last year. Including the latest acquisition, the Shenzhen-listed developer has spent about 6.9 billion yuan to acquire nine sites on the mainland since early last month. The sites can provide a total gross floor area of 2.74 million sqmetres. Vanke had to replenish its land bank to maintain 20 per cent growth in contract sales every year, Mr Lai said. 'Its contract sales reached 3.5 million sqmetres in the first half and the expected sales may reach seven million sqmetres for the whole year. This indicates their land bank is sufficient for development in the next three to four years only,' he said. The average sales price of Vanke's projects rebounded to 10,200 yuan per square metre in June from 7,200 yuan in October last year. Its average land price was about 2,000 yuan per square metre in June. Mr Lai said: 'The land price is reasonable and the developer could still generate reasonable profit.' Shares in Vanke fell 0.64 per cent to close at 14.07 yuan yesterday.