Lessons for China as a city's housing market hits the floor

The steep decline in housing prices in the Chinese city of Wenzhou could be a bellwether for the challenges that China will face as it tries to transform its low-end manufacturing sector.

Sharply falling real estate prices in the coastal city of Wenzhou in recent years represent another blow to the city's once-legendary local private economy. The city was hit hard by declining competitiveness in manufacturing and a wave of defaults on loan guarantee mechanisms starting in 2011, a process that forced many local businesses into bankruptcy. 

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