Hong Kong home sales are mired in a slow and painful contraction and estate agents predict a recovery is not on the cards until after the Lunar New Year. "The market is painfully slow," said Patrick Chow Moon-kit, head of research for Ricacorp Properties. "The situation will last for a while." Chow predicted an improvement might only be seen after the Lunar New Year in February, but perhaps even later. "In light of a decline in demand from Hong Kong and mainland investors, it is hard to say when the market will stage a recovery." Hit by the government's introduction of new property restrictions in October, which included a 15 per cent stamp duty on non-local and corporate buyers, weekend sales monitored by estate agency Midland Realty in the secondary market in 10 selected estates for December 8 and 9 fell to just 13, compared with 16 transactions over the previous weekend. No transactions were recorded over the weekend in some popular housing estates such as South Horizons in Ap Lei Chau; and Mei Foo Sun Chuen and Laguna City in Kowloon, according to Centaline Property Agency. In the primary market, Cheung Kong said yesterday that it generated revenues of HK$500 million from the sale of units in One West Kowloon. It raised prices by 7 per cent for the remaining three special units at Tower A of the development to an average of HK$14,528 per square foot. Last week, it collected around HK$300 million selling 30 units in the development - an outcome that agents described as a "slow sales result". The 286-unit project is the first residential development to have released a price list since the government imposed new property restrictions.