Real Estate

China’s Property Crisis Is Rippling Through the Economy

Once a beneficiary of China’s property boom, Lan Mingqiang is now an unwitting casualty of its unraveling.

The financial troubles at one real estate company, Country Garden, have left him unable to pay the school fees for his son, who is starting seventh grade. Country Garden owes $21,000 to his company, which makes fences and billboards on construction sites. Now, with Country Garden days away from a default, this money is more out of reach than ever.

“Nowadays, real estate is hard,” Mr. Lan said. He recently gave up on the business and left his family in the southern city of Chongqing to try to make a living selling snacks to tourists in Zhengzhou, a city in the north of China.

Mr. Lan is just one in a long line of people waiting to get paid by Chinese property developers. Once the country’s biggest creator of jobs, the housing market

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