Mainland property prices are expected to grow at a slower pace next year after recording sharp increases this year, property consultants say. Thomas Lam, head of research (Greater China) at Knight Frank, said while overall price growth would be maintained next year, luxury residential prices in first-tier cities were likely to rise by 5 to 15 per cent - versus increases of 10 to 20 per cent this year. Prices in the mass residential market would grow by just 8 per cent next year due to oversupply, compared with increases of 10 to 20 per cent this year, he said. "Prices of homes in first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have grown by 10 to 20 per cent so far this year; and official data show that prices in all the major 70 cities rose this year, with the exception of Wenzhou." Helen Liu, general manager at research company Beijing Holdways Information and Technology, said she did not expect the government to take further measures to cool the property market in the short term. "The central government will tackle the problem by long-term radical cures, such as implementing a property tax, increasing land supply and regulating bank loan policies," she said. "Such measures could strengthen the market." In Hong Kong, the average property price has dropped by 3 per cent so far this year, and is expected to record a full-year retreat of some 4 to 5 per cent, according to Knight Frank. "Price of luxury flats will drop by some 5 to 10 per cent next year, while mass residential home prices could fall by 10 to 15 per cent," said Lam. Knight Frank expects home sales for the full year to fall to between 52,000 and 55,000, compared to 81,333 last year. This year's final tally will be below the sales recorded in 2003 after the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars). "There will be 16,000 to 18,000 new flats available for sale in the coming 12 months. If their asking prices are 10 per cent lower than prices in the secondary market, this will trigger price falls in the mass market," he said. About 75 per cent of new supply next year will be in the New Territories, so Lam expects prices there to come under stronger downward pressure. The proportion of mainland buyers in new projects is expected to grow from 5 per cent this year to 10 per cent next year.