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China's housing price declines spread to more than half of provinces

Debt-laden local governments scramble to defend key source of revenue

Real estate brokerages in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. (Photo by Yusuke Hinata)

BEIJING -- Housing prices have fallen in a majority of China's provinces for the first time in more than six years as the government tries to tame a real estate bubble, sending debt-laden local authorities rushing to put a floor under the declines.

Sixteen out of 31 provincial-level divisions, which include cities directly administered by the central government, logged price declines in August, the most since March 2015, official data shows.

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