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NEWTON, MA-Solid occupancy rates helped boost the bottom line for locally based HRPT Properties Trust, which saw rental income grow to more than $174 million for the quarter ending June 30. Last year rental income was $138 million.

In a conference call Monday, company officials said occupancy rates throughout the REIT’s 415 properties remained strong, often exceeding the market, with the strongest occupancy in southern California, Washington DC and Oahu, HI. The firm’s holdings in Atlanta and Austin, TX offered the greatest growth potential, the company said, while Boston and Philadelphia, where the office market has been soft, posed its biggest challenge. The firm owns more than 53 million sf of office and industrial space in those markets.

“I think these strong results indicate improving conditions throughout the country,” said Adam Portnoy, HRPT’s executive vice president. Portnoy said that despite a soft market in Philadelphia and Boston, occupancy rates in both cities were 93.3% and 96.8% respectively at the end of the quarter with increased growth expected over the next year. Occupancy rates in Washington DC, Oahu, Atlanta and southern California were all over 90%.

The solid occupancy levels brought HRPT $50 million in net income for the quarter compared to $35 million for the same quarter a year earlier. For the six months ending June 30, net income was $82.9 million, a decline over the same period during 2004 when net income was $84.4 million.

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