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Chinese developers battered by housing slowdown

January sales tumble as flat prices and rents turn off real estate investors

A model of a residential and commercial complex at a real estate showroom in China's Shaanxi Province. Tighter restrictions on property sales have dented investor demand.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI – China's previously red-hot housing sector is cooling as the investors and speculators that had helped drive demand sour on the market, squeezing the earnings of property developers and raising concerns over knock-on effects for the real economy.

Major developers all reported dismal sales for January. Sales at China Vanke came to 48.9 billion yuan ($7.22 billion) , a 28% decline on the year. Country Garden Holdings' sales fell by half to 33.1 billion yuan, while China Evergrande Group logged a 33% drop to 43.2 billion yuan. Sunac China Holdings reported an 8% rise, but even this marked a sharp slowdown from the 27% jump for 2018 as a whole.

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