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Luxury Condo Aims to Be Shanghai's Most Costly

A Taiwan-based property group claimed the new record for Shanghai home prices by pricing its newly marketed luxury condo at 100,000 yuan (US$12,346) per square meter, Wednesday's National Business Daily reported.

The project, developed by Tomson Group along the prime Lujiazui bund area in Pudong, was scheduled to start sales in April, in celebration for the 15th anniversary of Pudong's development, according to a senior official of the group.  The price was then mooted to be US$10,000 per square meter.

Bao Haifeng, sales manager of the project, explained the delay was due to late-completion of infrastructure.

"Our customers are a special group and very demanding.  They will complain about the inconvenience if homes are sold before everything is completed," he said.

Analysts challenged Bao's words, describing the delay as a sales strategy on the part of the developer aimed at garnering fatter profits.

In April, the city's housing market saw such rapid growth that the company opted to wait and sell at higher prices, they pointed out.

But the market has seen a sudden setback since June because of a series of central government policies designed to rein-in the overheated market.

In the second quarter, sales at high-end projects in Shanghai fell by up to 20 percent, and more falls are expected.

Analysts remain cautious about the Tomson condo sale, pointing to the unsatisfactory performance of its nearby  Skyline Mansion project.

The latter, also pre-marketed as the city's most expensive project and offered at a price of 100,000 yuan per square meter, ended-up with a highest contract price of 60,000 yuan, with some apartments selling at 35,000 yuan.

(Shanghai Daily August 16, 2005)

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