A new project in Tai Kok Tsui is falling far short of public expectations that, under new rules, half the total number of flats would now be offered for sale. Only 75 flats in the Hermitage will be on sale in the first batch, just 8 per cent of the total number. The Hermitage, which will deliver 964 flats upon completion, is the first project regulated by new measures on flat sales, starting from June 1, which are designed to limit the potential for price manipulation. But Sino Land, the main developer, says it has followed the rules of the Real Estate Developers Association (REDA), which water down the impact of the new government rules. 'REDA says the minimum number of units to be included in the first price list will be 50 units or 50 per cent of the total number of units put up for sale in each batch, whichever is higher,' said a spokeswoman for the developer, who released the price list yesterday. 'So there is no problem.' The rule as drafted by the government was to require a developer to put up half the 'total number of flats available for sale' in the first batch. This was to force developers to put more flats on the market when launching a sale, instead of only a few dozen to whet buyers' appetites. Officials never spelled out that 'total number of flats' meant of the whole project or something else. A spokesman for the Transport and Housing Bureau said last night that there was no problem with Sino Land's arrangement. 'The developers have selected 75 flats for the first batch and they are selling all of them in one go,' he said. 'So it is selling 100 per cent of the flats it chose.' He said he believed developers would not split up developments into too many batches of flats, as that would slow down the sale process. Professor Eddie Hui Chi-man, of Polytechnic University's building and real estate department, said that the government's original proposal had encouraged public expectation that developers should offer far more apartments on a launch. 'Now the picture is confusing,' Hui said. 'The public, the government and REDA have different understandings of the clause. 'Officials should clarify.' But more flats from will be available in the first batch of the Hermitage than in some recent projects. For example, Cheung Kong (Holdings) offered only 20 of the 1,360 flats when launching the sale of Festival City's phase one in March. Other new measures to make sales more transparent include asking developers to set up an unmodified show flat; make public within five days transaction information; and release sale brochures at least seven days before sale. The Sino spokeswoman said the company had made an additional arrangement for the project, limiting each purchaser to no more than three flats. The 75 flats it is selling on Thursday range from 1,005 to 1,552 sq ft. The price quoted is HK$8,984 to HK$13,714 per sq ft.