China's property market data may be masking the degree to which speculation is driving prices in some of the larger cities.

Official data 'may actually under-represent what's going on', Ardo Hansson, the World Bank's chief economist for China, said. 'It's people buying because they think next week or next month it will be even higher.'

Government data this month showed Chinese real estate prices climbed the most in 18 months in December, highlighting a struggle to rein in speculation while sustaining an economic rebound.

The Australian