Thanks to Andrew for passing this along.
SANYA, China — China’s nationwide real estate boom became so manic last year that many would-be buyers camped in tents on the sidewalks of this tropical island city to be at the front of the line when condominiums went on sale — even though the condos had not yet been built.
But the real estate market here has cooled so rapidly this autumn that the tents have disappeared and been replaced with 20-foot-long banners on balconies with the phone numbers of speculators desperate to sell. Ads have grown on the Internet for unfinished apartments at up to 28 percent off the price at which developers were selling them a few months ago.
“Last year, when things were good, we had over 100 people a day coming into our office,” said David Zhang, the sales director at the Honor-Link Investment Consultant Company, a real estate brokerage here. “Now we have three or four a day, and no one is buying.”
One of the world’s few remaining real estate bubbles finally seems to be losing air. Real estate transactions have slowed so quickly that in the last two weeks, brokerages across China have laid off thousands of brokers and closed hundreds of offices.