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China Has a Plan for Its Housing Crisis. Here’s Why It’s Not Enough.

China has a housing problem. A very big one. It has nearly four million apartments that no one wants to buy, a combined expanse of unwanted living space roughly the area of Philadelphia.

Xi Jinping, the country’s leader, and his deputies have called on the government to buy them.

The plan, announced last week, is the boldest move yet by Beijing to stop the tailspin of a housing crisis that threatens one of the world’s biggest economies. It was also not nearly enough.

China has a bigger problem lurking behind all those empty apartments: even more homes that developers already sold but have not finished building. By one conservative estimate, that figure is around 10 million apartments.

The scale of China’s real estate boom was breathtaking. The extent of its unrelenting bust, which began nearly four years ago, remains vast and unclear.


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