Struggling to control a housing bubble, the city government announced measures on March 26 that effectively closed loopholes that had allowed new commercial buildings to be turned into homes and sold to individual buyers. Under the new rules, developers now need government authorization to undertake the conversions and only legally registered public institutions, companies and other social organizations are allowed to buy units in such developments. The new measures have purchasers of such homes scrambling for a way out, Caixin reports. In desperation, dozens of buyers trapped in other commercial housing developments appealed to the city government for help. They petitioned the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in the hope of winning official support to have their purchase contracts declared invalid. The restrictions have also sent the commercial real-estate market in China’s biggest cities into a tailspin, leaving genuine sellers and speculators alike high and dry, and forcing developers to change their business models.