The rows of towering buildings crowding the banks of the Gan River are a testament to the real estate boom that transformed Nanchang in eastern China from a gritty manufacturing hub to a modern urban center.
Now those skyscrapers are evidence of something very different: China’s real estate market in crisis, reeling after years of overbuilding.
As China’s economy prospered the last two decades, Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi Province, erected sweeping apartment complexes and gleaming office towers to meet the increasing demand for homes and workplaces. It pursued urban expansion with a motto that underscored its growth-at-all-costs approach: “Advance eastward, extend southward, expand westward, integrate northward, and prosper in the middle.”
But the country’s prolonged real estate slump has exposed cracks in cities, like Nanchang, where years of nonstop building have created too much supply. By one measure, nearly 20 percent of homes in Nanchang sit vacant — the highest rate among
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