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China’s Property Bust Compounds Economic Pain

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HONG KONG—China’s housing market flipped from being a growth driver to an economic drag in 2022, with sales slumping, prices falling and widespread job losses.

The prognosis for this year isn’t much better, compounding Beijing’s efforts to get its economy back on firmer footing.Sales of new residential properties in the country tumbled 28% last year to the equivalent of $1.7 trillion in value terms, a five-year low.

By floor area, they dropped to their lowest level in nearly a decade, after a wave of real-estate developer debt defaults, delays in construction of unfinished apartments and Covid-19 lockdowns dampened consumer confidence.

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