I am pleased with the record-high contracted sales, recognized revenue and earnings of the Group for 2019. Contracted sales reached RMB12.1 billion as targeted. Recognized property sales reached RMB6.50 billion for the year, an increase of 6.2% from last year. Due to the lower margin of properties delivered in the year, operating profits from ordinary businesses slowed down by 7.4% to RMB1,631.7 million. After-tax profits of the Group were maintained at RMB832.0 million, a 1.4% rise from last year whilst profit attributable to shareholders rose by 5.5% to RMB792.3 million.
Despite the setback on operating profits, with suitable land bank and project portfolio on hand, our management team is leaping to progressive business growth in the coming years. Based on our current assessment, we will have steady growth in sale revenue in the next three years. In view of the contracted sales of RMB12.1 billion achieved by the Company in 2019, I believe the vision of growth in medium-term is achievable given our expanded land bank.
As an expanding company, it is of primary importance to sustain growth and earnings for the best interests of our debt investors and shareholders. The current business environment is full of challenges as impacted by the epidemic and the general economic downturns. Property sales turn slow and market is depressed. Nonetheless, our management team will try our every effort to deliver our promise to our investors to sustain our business growth and earnings by executing plans to overcome the confronting obstacles.
Our management is closely monitoring the liquidity position of the Group from time to time to ensure the recent slowdowns in sales and delays in operations do not pose adverse material impacts on the ability to meet the commitments on debts and other contractual obligations of the Group. In this year, we have reduced the debts with short tenor. At the same time, we have been widening the financing channels and putting new financing or funding plans in place to repay debts when they fall due.
Moreover, our land acquisitions are conservatively set to an optimal scale that is suitable, but not excessive, to accommodate our needs for steady growth after taking into account the availability of funding. We emphasise on maintaining a reasonable and affordable leverage level to avoid placing too much reliance on borrowing. The scale of our land replenishment depends on the availability of resources from our organic growth and external financing obtainable by collateralisation of the acquisition targets or basing on the credit worthiness of the listed Group. Our management always drives on achieving an optimal balance between liquidity and expansion, to ensure there are rooms to absorb any unforeseeable obstacles.
In selection of new lands and projects, we target on regions with business potential. Besides, preference is given on land lots that are suitable for the development of youth community projects, a hot seller to first home-buyers. According to such selection criteria, we are inclined to concentrate on and drill into regions in the Greater Bay Area in Guangdong province those regions where we have past experience and have project teams established. Currently, our land bank in the Greater Bay Area, counted in potential developable areas relating old district remodeling, reaches aggregate GFA of 7 million sq.m.. We trust that these regions and youth community developments are resilient to market turbulences. In addition, through the exercise of our expertise in acquisitions, we have been keeping a relatively low land cost in our existing project portfolio, only at an average land cost below RMB2,300 per saleable GFA. This will surely render our Group strong competitiveness in pricing and profitability amongst our peers.
We have good track record in old district remodeling in Guangzhou. Currently, our renewal project in Guangming, Shenzhen is on the pipeline for commencement of construction and ongoing renewal programs are being undergone at different stages in old districts in Huangpu (黄浦) and Baiyun (白雲), Guangzhou. Riding on our successful track record in the past in remodeling projects in Guangzhou, we believe we can obtain the redevelopment rights of the two sites on foreseeable timelines. Once the official legal rights in the old district renewals are obtained, estimated aggregate GFA of 4.34 million sq.m. of the two projects will turn from our potential land reserves to become a valuable and sizable component in our land bank. Our management team is now working closely with governmental authorities and representatives of villagers on the remodeling plans. In the midst of the newly imposed policies that have speeded up old district renewals in Guangdong province, our two remodeling projects receive responsive supports from district governments. We anticipate that we will obtain the redevelopment right of one of the two projects in 2020. This breakthrough will add some estimated GFA of 1.32 million sq.m into our present property portfolio in the current year.
I am endeavoring to collaborate with the management team and business affiliates to leap over the challenges towards a more stable business environment in the coming year after the epidemic., Being the chairman of the board of directors and also the chief executive officer of the Company, I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to all our staff, customers, suppliers and business associates, creditors and shareholders for their unwavering assistance and support to the Group in the past years.