China property sales jumped 75.5% to $644bn last year, led by the eastern cities of Zhejiang and Shanghai, as record new loans boosted buying.

The sales data follows last week’s announcement that December property prices rose 7.8%, the fastest pace in 18 months, adding urgency to government efforts to rein in speculation. China this month reimposed a sales tax on homes sold within five years of their purchase while the country’s cabinet on 10 Jan urged strict application of a 40%down-payment requirement for second homes. The measures are likely to weigh on first-quarter sales, economist Lu Ting said.