Hong Kong’s homebuyers snapped up every flat on sale within three hours during a new launch, taking advantage of the breather offered by the city’s banks as they kept prime rates unchanged after the latest round of global rate hikes. All 238 flats at Sino Land ’s Villa Garda I project at Lohas Park in Tseung Kwan O were sold by noon, a spokeswoman said, for a total sales haul estimated at HK$2.2 billion (US$280.4 million). Nearly 6,200 bids were received, translating to 26 bids chasing every available flat. Homebuyers “have taken the interest hike into account to a certain extent,” said Sammy Po, CEO of Midland Realty’s residential division for Hong Kong and Macau. “The price set by the developer was a bargain ... [at] below the market level, which made it even more popular.” The frenzy – a dozen flats were sold every 10 minutes on average – reflected the strong demand for housing in one of the world’s least affordable urban centres, and how quickly buyers react to any change in the macroeconomic environment. Developers have reported bumper sales results in the past two weeks at a handful of new launches across the city. Villa Garda I comprises 1,880 apartments, to be developed and launched in three phases. Phase I, with 592 units, is scheduled for delivery in November 2024. The entry price at the current launch of the project was HK$6.2 million for a unit measuring 329 square feet (30.6 square metres). The average price was HK$18,136 per square foot after US and Hong Kong’s monetary authorities raised their key interest rates by a whopping 75 basis points on June 16. Still, the average price was 13.3 per cent cheaper than Kowloon Development’s Manor Hill project, which launched last October in the same neighbourhood at HK$20,921 per sq ft. Property buyers braved a rainstorm and typhoon warning to queue up at the developer’s sales office in Tsim Sha Tsui. A pensioner, who would only provide his surname Lee, put down HK$8 million for a two-bedroom flat for his own use. He said he was optimistic about the outlook of Hong Kong’s housing market, and was unconcerned about the spectre of rising interest rates. The project is located within the Lohas Park enclave, Hong Kong’s largest residential community, supported by transport infrastructure, amenities and schools. A buyer called Ivan bought a similar two-bedroom flat for HK$8 million, citing the convenience of the area’s subway network as the biggest attractions. He said he was also optimistic about Hong Kong’s property market and was unperturbed by rising interest rates. Hong Kong’s banks kept their prime rates unchanged on June 16 . The cost of funds in the interbank market (Hibor) have risen however, causing mortgages that are linked to Hibor to rise to a two-year high of more than 2.1 per cent. Villa Garda I faces keen competition for buyers, as a slew of new projects are expected to launch over the coming weeks and months. More than 1,300 new homes were likely to have been sold in June, Midland’s Po said. On Friday, Billion Development & Project Management will offer 444 flats at The Horizon project in Tai Po for sale. A day later, 80 flats at the Grand Jete, developed by CK Asset Holdings and Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP), will be on offer with a new mortgage plan to attract buyers. Up to 91 per cent of the Grand Jete flats on offer last weekend sold out . Despite the strong sales, a Hong Kong government price index of lived-in homes is expected to show a wider decline in June, as homeowners offer more discounts amid a high supply of new developments and concerns about rising interest rates.