Norway's sovereign wealth fund, sitting on around £240bn of profits from its oil and gas reserves, plans to start buying commercial property in the second half of 2009, with the UK at the top of its shopping list.

The country has set aside the equivalent of $20bn (£14.5bn) to invest in real estate in the coming years, and plans to enter the market in 2009, although during the first half of the year 'it looks like it will pay to stay on the side lines,' said Yngve Slyngstad, executive director of Norges Bank Investment Management, the division of the central bank which oversees the sovereign fund.

'The UK will be one of the first markets we will go into,' Slyngstad said. 'We look for markets with transparency and a good legal system to protect our investment.'

Daily Telegraph