Goodbye, Merlin Champagne Town

Could this spell the end to the likes of Beijing Yosemite and Chateau Regalia? In an attempt to curb China's property boom and address the imbalance between rich and poor, the Ministry of Land and Resources last week halted the allocation of land for luxury villas. Property rates in ShanghaióChina's frothiest marketóhave tripled in the past five years as buyers snap up units in oddly named, lavishly priced complexes. But land-ministry officials admit the availability of low-cost housing has been neglected. "The country cannot afford construction of large villas to meet the demand of a few high-end customers while sacrificing...

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