The West End property developer Great Portland Estates has edged back to profitability, striking an optimistic note on the future of London despite Brexit.

The group reported pre-tax profits of £22.8m for the half year to September 2017, up from the £140m loss it posted for the full year to March 2017 after its holdings shed value.

It made £17m on investment properties over the half year, up from a £90m loss over the same period last year. Its portfolio is currently valued at £2.7bn

GPE said that international money was supporting asset values across London, but that many people selling properties were yet to become “more realistic” on pricing.

The group said that as a result it has not found many attractively-priced properties to buy, but added that vacancy rates in its office space were down while rental value growth stood at 0.5 per cent.

The FTSE 250 company said it is likely to be a net seller of property over the second half of the year, and already has £400m of property on the market.

Net debt has increased to £514.6m over the half year, up from £502m at the end of March.

Toby Courtauld, Chief Executive, said:

Activity and pricing in central London’s commercial property market remains robust for prime assets, offering potential opportunities for us to crystallise further surpluses through sales in the near term.

Although we can expect some weakness in market rents and secondary yields during this period of uncertainty, demographic growth and the broad spread and depth of the capital’s economic activity will help to cement its position as one of only a handful of truly global cities and Europe’s business capital, generating demand for our brand of well designed, centrally located, high quality space.

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