PHOTO: People wearing face masks walk along a deserted street in Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak © AP

The coronavirus outbreak has dealt a painful blow to China’s $43tn property market as developers close sales centres and potential homebuyers delay the search for new flats. The impact of the crisis on China’s property market, which some estimate contributes one quarter of gross domestic product, is threatening to drive down the country’s economic growth to 4 per cent in the first quarter, according to several analysts. That compares with a rate of 6.1 per cent in 2019 and would bring growth close to the full-year low of 3.9 per cent experienced in 1990, in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre. “People with money are scared to death and don’t dare run around outside,” said Tina Yu, a Beijing-based real estate agent. “No one is going to work. The real estate developments are all locked up . . . the impact will certainly be big.”