The first batch of 185 luxury flats at The Austin sold out within seven hours of being put on the market yesterday, helped by price cuts and a stamp-duty subsidy. About 3,000 potential buyers had registered their interest in the flats, the first to go on sale at the development above the Austin MTR station in West Kowloon. The average sale price was HK$22,871 per square foot. Agents estimated that about 30 per cent of the buyers at The Austin were investors, while the rest were locals buying flats to live in. A spokesman for the developers, New World Development and Wheelock Properties, said the sales generated HK$2.1 billion. A second lot of 187 flats will go on sale at an average price of HK$25,323 per square foot. "Sales were strong as the developers were willing to accept lower prices and offered discounts," said Benny Yau, a senior sales director with Hong Kong Property Services. Yau said he expected prices would drop in the second-hand property market. "The prices of new flats such as those at The Cullinan above Kowloon Station are more than 20 per cent lower than the average second-hand flat. If owners want to sell their flats, their asking prices have to be lower than those of new flats. They're going to have to cut their asking prices by 20 per cent," he said. Meanwhile, the first batch of 40 flats at The Long Beach in Tai Kok Tsui goes on sale today. And Sino Land announced yesterday that the first lot of 90 flats at its Park Metropolitan project in Kwun Tong would go on sale on Friday. The average price has been set at HK$15,083 per square foot in terms of saleable area. The developer is offering discounts of up to 18 per cent.