China, South Korea… Azerbaijan

“Remember during the Olympics, you’d walk down Regent Street and there was a flag for every country? It’s almost like that now in terms of the owners of London property.” That’s how one consultant described the market to me when I was researching trends in overseas investment in the capital for this article for Estates Gazette.

London’s property market has always been international, but now private wealth and pension savings alike are coming from an unprecedented number of source countries, seeking a safe home. During 2012, investment reached its highest level since 2007, accounting for almost three-quarters of deals in both the commercial and residential sectors. Money continues to flow in from established sources such as the US, Canada, Germany and the Middle East, but also from new players across the Far East, Eastern Europe, South America and Africa – not just dipping a toe in the water but buying up some of London’s most expensive stock. For this feature, I picked ten countries that have made the biggest splash in recent times and assessed what’s in store during 2013 and beyond.

Concrete cheesecake

The Spring issue of Concrete Quarterly (which I edit for UBM and the Concrete Centre) was devoted to “cool”, so it’s only fitting that the cover paid tribute to the late Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who probably did more than anyone else over his long career to demonstrate exactly how cool concrete can look. Also featured: the Co-op’s new HQ building in Manchester, a crazy fractal-shaped Teahouse in Shanghai that is impossible to draw on a plan, and a surreal museum on the French Riviera that has been compared to a mysterious plant, “enchanted hair” and a cheesecake.