Homebuyers turned up in numbers to snap up the bulk of the flats on sale in a Yuen Long project on Saturday, highlighting better property market sentiment as the reopening of Hong Kong’s economy continues to unleash pent-up demand, according to agents. At least 111 of 143 units on offer at the After the Rain project were sold when showroom doors were closed last night, according to agents. The project, developed by closely-held Star Properties, added to a series of strong take-up rates in property launches since early January, when China officially scrapped quarantine requirements. Apart from the border reopening, the market also improved following a cut in stamp duty in February, some analysts said. While the project has its own appeal, it may have benefited from buyers who turned away from Kai Tak earlier this week to look at flats in other locations. “The result is quite good,” said Sammy Po Siu-ming, CEO of Midland Realty’s residential division for Hong Kong and Macau. “The attraction is that it is close to the Long Ping station, so transport is convenient.” The Yuen Long project offers units with sizes ranging from about 250 to 900 sq ft at an average price of HK$14,491 per sq ft. The cheapest units start from about HK$4 million (US$127,000), making it popular among the city’s first-time homebuyers, Po added. The price is comparable to other last year’s launches in the district, such as units at Park Yoho Bologna that were sold in October at HK$13,088 per sq ft. Flats at Grand Mayfair were tagged at HK$17,608 per sq ft during its launch in April. Besides homeowners, investors were among those who expressed interest in the Yuen Long development. About 30 per cent of the buyers on Saturday intend to lease them out for rental income, which could return 3 per cent annually, Po estimated. Hongkongers spurn latest flats in Kai Tak after temporary housing plan unveiled Star Properties fared a lot better than Wheelock Properties. Buyers shunned nearly all the 111 units at the Monaco Marine project in Kai Tak . Some residents have opposed a government plan to build 10,700 temporary flats in the vicinity, saying it will diminish its allure at Hong Kong’s second central business district. Notwithstanding that, the recovery in the city’s property market has kicked on as the economy showed signs of improvement. Prices of lived-in homes rose by 0.6 per cent in January, halting a seven-month slide. New launches, such as the Koko Rosso project in Lam Tin, One Innovale in Fanling and Novo Land in Tuen Mun, enjoyed brisk sales with near sell-out results. “Pent up and delayed demand accumulated in the fourth quarter of 2022 is boosting the market now,” said Hannah Jeong, head of valuation and advisory services at Colliers Hong Kong. Most of the new home transactions were for units priced below HK$12 million each, with those below HK$10 million making up 85 per cent of the total private residential volume, she added. More developers are likely to rush their projects to the market in the coming months to ride the upturn, said Norry Lee, senior director of projects strategy and consultancy at JLL in Hong Kong. “We foresee developers accelerating their projects in the pipeline to catch up with the improved sentiment,” especially for the 13 developments that have already secured presale consent, Lee added.