London’s skyline belies the financial crisis that continues to plague Europe. New buildings like The Shard and St. George’s Wharf – the scene of an unfortunate helicopter crash earlier this year – are testament to the fact that England’s capital has been a safe port in an economic storm. Investment from Asia and the Gulf states has helped change the cityscape forever, creating new jobs and a so-called “M25 economy” which, as we report on page 6, has widened the gap between north and south.
But is London’s bubble about to burst? Could EU proposals to change banking regulations, the downgrading of the UK economy and the emergence of foreign property markets threaten this hegemony?
Only time will tell but we do know that London is up against stiff competition. As Josh McGarvie reports on page 40, the once beleaguered US property market is back on course and is tipped by many to be the place to invest in 2013. Closer to home, the diminutive nation of Malta (page 54) is profiting from the woes of other European countries. Foreign nationals are increasingly setting up camp in the country in a bid to flee austerity in their homeland.
The same can’t be said for Sri Lanka. Although this island is enjoying a boom in tourism, the country’s draconian property laws are making it very difficult for foreigners to invest there, as Gavin Haines reports on page 24. Further East, Thailand seems to be the destination that keeps giving and on page 34 we report from Phuket where we find the luxury market is booming. Our features editor also unearths some less developed locations, which could yield high returns.
We also find time to chat to Lucy Alexander from the BBC’s Homes Under the Hammer (page 8), who talks about brawling builders, the appeal of France and why viewing property on a first date is the key to a lasting relationship. Away from property, we focus on the party city of Rio de Janeiro (page 70), which is gearing up to host the World Cup next year (get their before the crowds). And closer to home, we discover the virtues of holidaying at home in Cornwall (page 76) and provide some inspiration for an Easter break in the UK.
Last but not least, we check in with the legendary explorer, Colonel John Blashford-Snell (page 82). He talks to us about journeys of discovery and close shaves with wildlife. Until next time.
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