A biennial index released today by Jones Lang LaSalle and LaSalle Investment Management reveals that recovering real estate markets have prompted renewed impetus to transparency improvements following a slowdown in progress during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.
Nearly 90% of markets have registered advances in real estate transparency during the past two years, driven by improving market fundamentals data and performance measurement, combined with better governance of listed vehicles.
The 2012 Global Real Estate Transparency Index, a proprietary Jones Lang LaSalle survey that calculates transparency in 97 real estate markets worldwide by weighting 83 different factors, provides investors and corporate occupiers with data and analysis critical to transacting, owning and operating in global markets. The Index also assists governments and other industry organizations interested in improving transparency.
Among key findings from the report:
- The United States ranks as the world's most transparent real estate market in 2012, followed closely by the UK and Australia. Also in the 'Highly Transparent' category: Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, France, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.
- The Index reaffirms the ascent of the MIST growth markets (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey), which all feature among the leading improvers. Turkey once again leads in transparency improvement.
- Regionally, Latin America has seen the strongest progress in transparency. Brazil's Tier 1 cities rank second globally in transparency improvement and now sits in the 'Transparent' category. Mexico sits in third position globally (in terms of progress).
- The gap in transparency between Western Europe and some of the main Central European markets has been virtually eliminated as core CEE markets approach the mainstream. Poland, for example, has transparency levels comparable to Western Europe and is now considered by some investors as a 'core' market.
- Environmental sustainability has emerged as an important transparency factor with the UK, Australia and France the most transparent markets in terms of real estate sustainability. The UK has a long history of building energy efficiency systems and introduced the world's first Green Building rating system. Australia has been the test bed for new environmental laws, regulations and incentives.
"While the world economy is still in recovery, the 2012 Index reveals that real estate investors and corporate occupiers are widening their activity across a broader range of markets. This cross-border activity encourages faster rates of transparency improvement in growth and emerging economies as the markets open up further to international competition and their real estate sectors embrace global best practices," said Jacques Gordon, Global Head of Strategy for LaSalle Investment Management, the investment management arm of Jones Lang LaSalle.
Notably, the 2012 Index highlights continued transparency deficiencies in many African, Middle Eastern and Latin American markets. Nations scoring the lowest on transparency, the so-called opaque markets, include Venezuela, Mongolia, Tunisia, Ghana, Iraq, Pakistan, Algeria, Belarus, Angola, Nigeria, and Sudan. Many of these countries were scored for the first time in this edition of the Index.
Jeremy Kelly, National Director, Global Research at Jones Lang LaSalle, said: "While steady progress in real estate transparency has been made during the past two years, much still needs to be done. The pace of regulatory and legal reform has been slow, and we have seen limited improvement on the transparency of transaction processes, despite recognition by government and industry bodies that transparent real estate markets are necessary."
Kelly cited four main forces that are expected to drive further progress in transparency through the next update in 2014:
- The growing recognition in many emerging economies that the current lack of performance indicators and accurate market information is hindering inward inv