Hong Kong homebuyers steered clear of 111 flats on offer at Wheelock Properties ’s development at Kai Tak, the first project to be launched there since the government announced plans to build temporary housing units on the site of the city’s former airport. As of 8:30pm, just four units at Monaco Marine had found buyers, in stark contrast to the strong sales seen at other new launches since the start of the year. The frosty reception was nonetheless expected, agents said. Most of the units were ones that did not find buyers when they went on sale as part of an earlier batch. “It is leftover stock. [They] mainly offered the units for immediate purchases by walk-in buyers over the weekend,” said Sammy Po Siu-ming, CEO of Midland Realty’s residential division for Hong Kong and Macau. “Not many transactions are expected today. “So far there is no completely new project launched in Kai Tak after the light public housing project plan was announced. The developer launched this batch of leftover units to test the market. It is not considered a completely new launch.” The project is located close to Olympic Avenue where 10,700 temporary flats will be built by the government as it tries to alleviate the housing shortage in Hong Kong. The plan to build temporary units in Kai Tak received a mixed reaction when it was announced in late January, with some homeowners in the area expressing concern that prices could decline owing to the change in the district’s master plan. Analysts have warned that private residential units could end up with blocked views owing to the government’s plan and could see the value of their properties decline by between 10 and 15 per cent. Hong Kong’s property market has been showing firm signs of recovery following the reopening of the border with mainland China, which raised hopes of an economic recovery that is likely to boost demand for homes. New projects launched in recent months, including Wheelock’s Koko Rosso project in Lam Tin and Henderson Land’s One Innovale development in Fanling, saw most of their units snapped up. Prices of lived-in homes rose in January, the same month the border reopened, increasing by 0.6 per cent and breaking seven consecutive months of decline, according to government data. “Since the border reopened, the market sentiment is gradually improving,” said Martin Wong, director and head of research and consultancy for Greater China at Knight Frank. “We saw the overall transaction volume in the residential market increasing by over 30 per cent on a monthly basis since the reopening and that is definitely signalling that the market is turning a corner.” Monaco Marine began selling units last year, and attracted brisk sales at first. The first batch of flats released for sale comprised 306 units with between one and three bedrooms, priced from HK$7.96 million (US$1.01 million) to HK$20.4 million In the latest round, the 111 units were priced between HK$8.43 million and HK$18.73 million with a discounted average price of HK$25,473, according to a Wheelock representative. The units, part of the final phase of the Kai Tak Harbor Series, are located on higher and lower floors of the building. Four other units will be sold by tender. “This is not a big launch, we don’t expect many clients to come,” the representative said. The planned temporary housing plot is part of a government scheme designed to cut the waiting time – currently 5.6 years – for residents waiting for a permanent public rental home. The Housing Bureau said it will build at least 30,000 temporary public housing flats on eight sites over five years, at a cost of HK$26.4 billion.