Spurred by strong leasing and rising rents, locally based REIT Pacific Gulf Properties Inc. posted a sharp earnings gain in the second quarter from last year.

Pacific Gulf (NYSE: PAG), which specializes in developing, owning and managing industrial and apartment buildings, reported a 13% boost in funds from operations for the quarter ending June 30 compared to the same time a year ago. Company officials attributed the rise to industrial leases totaling 1.1 million sf completed during the quarter and a 15% boost in effective rents following the renewal of expired leases.

The $0.70-per-share earnings increase exceeds estimates by a consensus of First Call Corp. analysts by 2 cents per share.

Net operating income-gross rents minus operating expenses-was $50.9 million for the first six months of 2000, compared to $45.4 million a year ago, a 12% jump.

Pacific Gulf’s stock held steady at 25 7/16 at the close of business Thursday on heavy trading of 227,400 shares. But like many REIT stocks, it has bounced back on Wall Street, moving steadily upward from its 52-week low last September of 19 1/4.

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