Hong Kong's powerful property developers are locked in a price war as measures to cool one of the world's most expensive real estate markets force them to impose steep discounts to hit sales targets, with many turning to mainland China to fill the gap.
Developers such as Cheung Kong, controlled by Asia's richest man Li Ka-shing, are even throwing in free car park spaces - which can be worth $100,000 or more in densely populated Hong Kong - to lure buyers at a time when quarterly transactions are at their lowest level since 1996.
Real estate agents have also taken to the streets to urge the government to relax cooling measures that they say could cost them their jobs, although market watchers say the government is unlikely to budge any time soon.
"The Hong Kong government has made it clear that it can't afford the risks of removing the measures," said Thomas Lam, head of research for greater China at real estate firm Knight Frank.
He added the government was not expected to revoke the measures, which include higher stamp duties for buyers and home loan curbs, in the next 12 to 24 months.
Combined contracted property sales of Hong Kong's four major developers - Sun Hung Kai Properties, Cheung Kong, Henderson Land Development and New World Development - dropped 39 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2013, according to Phillips Securities.