China's real estate price index recovered in the first quarter, making gains in 16 major cities. Exceptions were Hong Kong and Shanghai. A report compiled by the China Real Estate Index System (Creis) showed the first-quarter price index for Hong Kong was 6,059 points, down 1,338 points, Xinhua (the New China News Agency) reported. Shanghai's index was 809 points, down 16 points from last year's fourth quarter. Hong Kong's index had dropped since last October as a result of the impact of the Asian financial turmoil, Creis said. However it was expected to be stable in the coming few months because of government measures to stabilise real estate prices. China's real estate situation had taken a favourable turn in the first quarter with the clarification of associated policies and measures, the report said. Real estate investment in the quarter had increased 9.2 per cent from the corresponding period last year, while total floor space of commercial housing sold increased 41 per cent. In Beijing, the high purchasing power of work units resulted in a supply shortage in the city centre, pushing prices up, the report said. The total floor space of Beijing residential housing sold in the quarter had increased 32.4 per cent from the period a year earlier. In southern mainland cities such as Shenzhen, private home buying by individuals made up more than 80 per cent of total sales.