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How China’s property bubble burst

China’s top real estate developers, Evergrande and Country Garden, have defaulted on their debts. But the issues in China’s property market have much deeper roots.

Desperate property developers in China have resorted to gifts like new cars, free parking spaces, phones and other consumer goods to attract homebuyers and boost flagging sales.

These incentives are just the tip of the iceberg in a crisis involving hundreds of billions of dollars in home builder debt, trillions in local government debt and at least a billion empty apartments.

But it wasn’t always the case. Since China’s economic liberalization in the 1970s and housing reforms in the late 1980s, locals have flocked to properties as the investment vehicle of choice over alternatives such as the stock market.

The property and construction boom helped fuel China’s – and the world’s – economic growth for 30 years. By some estimates, property in China was worth $60 trillion at its peak, making it the biggest asset class in the world.

Developers like Evergrande and Country Garden got extremely rich in the process.

As property values soared and Chinese households piled on more debt, Beijing attempted to cool its housing market and rein in risky business behavior. Spooked, Chinese consumers soured on property purchases.

But the country’s property crisis has deeper roots than speculation and uncontrollable debt. Watch the video to find out how China’s property bubble burst.

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