Hong Kong's housing market rally has cooled as developers ease up on the pace of new launches and flat owners ramp up asking prices. Some 7,902 property transactions were lodged with the Land Registry in August, marking a 15.94 per cent drop from July's 9,400 units. This was the first decline in five months. Total transaction values fell 17.32 per cent to HK$52.36 billion, according to the monthly report released by the Land Registry yesterday. The declines for last month reflect market activity from mid-July to mid-August because there is usually a four-week lag between closing a transaction and lodging a registration with the Land Registry. "After experiencing strong sales in the housing market, the market has entered into a consolidation since mid-July," said Patrick Chow Moon-kit, head of research at Ricacorp Properties. "This was because developers slowed down the pace of launching their projects." Centaline Property said it booked sales of 1,573 new flats in August, a decline of 36.6 per cent month on month. Total value fell 45.3 per cent to HK$29.34 billion. During the month, the agency saw the strongest sales at Mont Vert, a Tai Po development by Cheung Kong (Holdings), with 586 units sold for a total of HK$3.79 billion. Mont Vert was followed by Signature in Yuen Long and Grand Austin at Austin MTR station. Chow said the stronger market prompted some flat owners to raise prices, dampening buyer sentiment. Sales booked by Ricacorp fell 12.7 per cent to 4,199 deals in August, with total values dropping 6.7 per cent to HK$24.3 billion. Kingswood Villa in Tin Shui Wai drew the most sales, with 66 units, the agency said.