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China property market slump turns into rout

Faster sales decline in April prompts additional support from Beijing

HONG KONG -- Home sales in China have been tumbling for months as potential buyers worry about weakened developers being unable to complete promised projects and grow anxious about the country's economic direction. But last month's COVID lockdowns in Shanghai and other areas turned April into a rout for many property companies.

Of 31 listed Chinese developers with annual sales of at least 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) in 2020 that report monthly data, 26 cited falls of at least 50% in April contracted sales from a year earlier. Of the remaining five, none reported drops of less than 28%.

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