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Asia Insight

Real estate slowdown shakes Asia's economic foundations

Weak markets spell trouble for investors, consumers and retailers

KENTARO IWAMOTO, NIKKI SUN and AKIHIDE ANZAI, Nikkei staff writers | China

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG/TOKYO -- The economic downturn in China and the darkening global outlook have reversed the momentum in Asia's property markets, giving homebuyers painful whiplash and raising fears of spillover effects on consumer spending.

Eason Shao is one condo buyer caught by the sudden shift. For about six months last year, he repeatedly signed up for "housing lotteries" in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, determined to purchase an apartment where he could start a family. Developers had introduced the lotteries in big cities in late 2017, as the number of buyers had far exceeded the available units during a three-year property frenzy.

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