has just released this interesting and bullish report about the .

The latest report shows the openings of the , , Grand Lisboa and last year strengthened the island’s position as a world-class tourist destination.

Despite the slowdown in the number of residential sales transactions in 3Q2007, the overall residential market experienced significant growth in 2007 owing to rising personal incomes, falling interest rates and accelerating inflation. For the first eleven months of 2007, the number of residential transactions recorded a total of 19,946, which already surpassed the level of 2006’s total (17,175 units). The average residential transacted price edged up 21.2% Year-to-Year to an average of US$1,714.50 per sq m of usable area in 3Q2007. This was mainly attributable to the strong performance of the high-end residential sector. In the leasing perspective, the continual inflow of expatriates continued to drive rental upwards. There were a total of 85,207 non-resident workers in as at the end of December 2007, up 27.6% since January 2007.

There were 27 million visitors by the end of last year, which was a year-on-year growth rate of 22.8 per cent. The rising number of visitors as well as increased spending by residents drove retail sales up 33.2 per cent last year and there was a 9.4 per cent year-on-year growth for private consumption expenditure in last year’s third quarter.

The report said sustained low interest rates of about 3 per cent and accelerating inflation, together with strong economic fundamentals, would help trigger stronger demand for residential properties.

“In addition, the proposed plan of the first home buyers loan scheme will add extra impetus to the sales market,” the report said.

And on the all-important hotel sector, the report showed that average hotel occupancy rate was 83 per cent, despite the number of hotel rooms expanding by 24.4 per cent year-on-year to more than 16,000 to the end of December.

“The continuous arrival of new resorts and ongoing development of meetings, incentive tours, conventions and exhibitions industries remain the key factors for a positive outlook.”

Hotel projects in the pipeline include the first stage of , which started operations last month, with 420 rooms in the 20-storey hotel and a 25,000 square metre casino.

There are also four hotel-casino developments scheduled to open this year: the , Sheraton , Shangri-La and the Traders.

“ enjoyed almost 30 per cent growth in 2007 as a gaming and hub,” the Colliers report said. “Gaming revenue increased by 45.7 per cent year on year to more than 24.9 million pataca [$3.43 million] in the fourth quarter 2007, fetching a total of 83.8 billion pataca in 2007.”

Thanks to all that cash rolling in, the average residential price edged up over 20 per cent, with almost 20,000 transactions. Colliers said the residential projects coming on line included Harbour Mile by Sun Tak Property comprising seven towers – five for residential, one for office and retail and one for serviced apartments – due for completion by 2010.

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