Hong Kong developers are launching hundreds of flats at knock-down prices in a bid to make up for lost time as the city begins to emerge from months of strict social-distancing measures that have made house sales all-but impossible. Sino Land priced the first batch of 168 units at its Grand Mayfair I project above Kam Sheung Road MTR station at an average price of HK$17,608 per square foot after factoring in a discount of up to 16 per cent. The price, unveiled on Wednesday, is about 12 per cent lower than the average launch price in December of HK$19,899 per square foot at Yoho Hub at Yuen Long station , one stop away from Kam Sheung Road station. Wheelock Properties has also priced flats at its Monaco Marine development in Kai Tak 12 per cent lower than a nearby project that went on sale last summer. It will release 308 units for sale on Saturday. “Developers lost the first three months of property sales, so their primary goal is to speed up sales,” said Vincent Cheung, managing director of Vincorn Consulting and Appraisal. Henderson Land Development joined the rush to get flats onto the market after the hiatus , though it has left its prices the same as in previous batches. It revealed on Wednesday that it will offer 108 units, with sizes ranging from 322 to 377 square feet, at The Harmonie in Cheung Sha Wan for sale next Tuesday. The units are priced from HK$6.89 million to HK$9.45 million, or HK$20,972 to HK$25,544 per square foot. Sales of new homes in the first quarter plummeted 64 per cent to just 1,679 transactions, from 4,633 deals in the last three months of 2021, according to Ricacorp Properties. “It was the lowest number in the past six years,” said Derek Chan, head of research at the agency. It was also 23 per cent fewer than the 2,186 deals recorded in the first quarter of 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic started. “The slump reflected the devastating impact of the fifth wave of Covid-19 on property sales,” said Chan. The government is due to relax social-distancing measures from today. Restaurants will be allowed to operate dine-in services until 10pm with four people per table, while gyms, massage parlours, cinemas and theme parks will be able to reopen after more than three months of being shuttered up. The first batch of flats at Grand Mayfair I, with sizes ranging from 354 sq ft to 762 sq ft, were priced at HK$6.07 million to HK$13.99 million, or HK$17,175 per sq ft to HK$18,365 per sq ft. The project is due to be completed in October, 2024. Victor Tin, group associate director at Sino, described them as “super-happy prices”. Developers began to lower their prices amid a slew of gloomy predictions about the market outlook. Goldman Sachs predicted home prices will fall by 20 per cent between now and 2025 as borrowing costs increase and demand slumps because of rising unemployment. The American investment bank said every 25 basis-point increase in interest rates would need a 5 per cent rise in income or a 5 per cent decline in property prices to maintain affordability. The US Federal Reserve has suggested it could lift interest rates six more times, up to a total of 100 basis points, this year. Hong Kong’s lived-in home prices have dropped 4 per cent from a peak in September last year.