Hong Kong-listed Country Garden Holdings, which reported a more than 62 per cent jump in interim profits yesterday, said it would speed up buying of land since government moves to cool the property market would create more acquisition opportunities. Profits rose 62.8 per cent to 2.9 billion yuan (HK$3.5 billion) in the first half, while turnover increased 32.9 per cent to 15.6 billion from a year earlier. Sales from property development registered a year-on-year 34 per cent gain to 14.97 billion yuan. With a company cash reserve of 10.14 billion yuan at the end of June, president and executive director Mo Bin said the group would take advantage of market conditions to expand its presence by either acquiring more land or through mergers and acquisitions. He said the group added 700,000 square metres to its land bank, spending 6 billion yuan in the first half. During that period, the group's average land cost was 480 yuan per square metre, compared with 423 yuan per square metre a year earlier. Mo played down the impact of the central government's plan to extend home-buying restrictions to more second- and third-tier cities at the end of this month. More than 40 cities moved to restrict homeowners from buying more than two flats. He said it was too early to assess the impact on Country Garden as the plans had not yet been implemented. 'The central government's austerity measures will help develop a more healthy market condition and we are well prepared for it,' he said. But the group said average selling prices dipped 4.19 per cent to 5,121 yuan per square metre in the first half as Beijing introduced a string of measures to rein in property demand and soaring prices. Estella Ng, chief financial officer, attributed the lower average selling price to the smaller volume of villas sold. Villas, which generate higher selling prices, only accounted for 4 per cent of revenue in the first half compared with 25 per cent a year ago. The directors recommended no interim dividend be given.