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In the Dianshan Lake region, less than 40 miles west of central Shanghai, the appetite for speculative real estate has driven developers into China’s most fertile land, the Yangtze Delta. Only about half of these luxury second-home villas like these are occupied, and the rest are empty, as the housing sector staggers under a surplus. Some are as big as 6,300 square feet and sell for $1.5 million.

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