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LONDON-Slough Estates has warned the property market will be challenging in the short-term but management is upbeat about the longterm prospects for the sector.

The company reported interim pre-tax profits up 8.5% to £76.2 million ($117.5 million) as core property investment income rose 2.7% to £68.5 million ($105.6 million).

An interim property valuation showed the group’s portfolio increased by 0.2% to £3.6 billion ($5.5 billion) with diluted net asset value per share up 2% to 522 pence per share.

Slough reported demand by investors for UK commercial property remains strong as it is seen as a safe bet in troubled times, but occupier demand is less certain. Overall, the group’s UK occupancy has fallen slightly to 91.2%.

Demand for industrial space remains satisfactory but demand for offices in London and the South East is subdued. This has led to some downward pressure on rents.

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