Crest Nicholson disposals

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FURTHER proof of a recovery in the commercial property market was provided by Crest Nicholson, the housebuilder, yesterday, after it sold four office blocks for pounds 27.5m.

The company, which is selling commercial properties to cut its pounds 73m borrowings, said the sale had attracted keen interest from institutional investors, helping it to make a pounds 2.5m profit on the deals.

'We weren't short of offers on these properties. What it tells us is that tenant demand is returning and institutional investors are looking to buy,' John Callcutt, chief executive, said.

The properties were sold fully let after Crest managed to attract blue chip tenants. The biggest asset, Spectrum Point, an 86,000sq ft office at Farnborough, Kent, was bought by Scottish Amicable, the life insurer, for pounds 18m.

Crest has now raised pounds 37m from commercial property sales this year. It hopes to sell another pounds 20m of assets to concentrate on building houses.

The shares jumped 4p to 97p.