Property sales throughout the city are likely to be boosted after the entire first batch of flats at Cheung Kong's City Point in Tsuen Wan sold in a day, real estate agents involved in the transactions say. The developer sold the 591 flats in the 1,717-unit project in under seven hours, the agents said. The second batch, of 354 flats, would be released this week, Cheung Kong said last night. "It attracted upgraders back to the property market as the asking prices were reasonable and the government has recently extended the qualifying period for exemption from double stamp duty," Midland Realty chief executive Sammy Po Siu-ming said. "Upgraders have not been active since the government announced cooling measures in February last year." More than 13,500 people registered to buy flats at City Point last week, the highest for a new project in 12 years. Last year, the government doubled the stamp duty payable on property purchases, but with an exemption for permanent residents who sign a provisional contract to buy a flat within six months of selling the only flat they owned. It recently proposed widening the exemption. Cheung Kong executive director Justin Chiu Kwok-hung said: "The amendment helps upgraders to buy flats. We found we had mostly upgraders buying at this project." The cheapest flat was HK$5.35 million. But if a buyer is eligible for all the discounts on offer, that price drops to about HK$4.51 million. Midland estimated about 80 per cent of its clients were buying the flats to live in, with the rest being investors. Peter Wong, a director at Hong Kong Property Services, said: "The strong sales will encourage more people to look at flats in the short run." With many buyers waiting for the second batch of City Point flats, Po believed activity in Tsuen Wan's secondary market would remain slow in the short run. "But the sale has proven housing demand is very strong," he said. "Forthcoming projects will benefit from the good news. The sales of second-hand flats in other districts should increase, but for small flats only. "Home seekers looking for flats valued from HK$7 million to HK$10 million would be attracted by new projects as developers would offer subsidies on stamp duties and asking prices close to those of second-hand flats."