Transparency: AP moving in the right direction

June 29, 2018 / By  

We recently launched the 10th edition of our Global Real Estate Transparency Index, a leading publication that has been charting the progression of transparency across the world for two decades. The 2018 Index builds upon the strong track record of our previous surveys, evolving to meet ever-changing demands, and now covering 100 countries and 158 city markets.

We have observed a lot of change in the last 20 years and transparency has become ever more paramount. We have experienced a global financial crisis that put a spotlight on debt and regulation, witnessed the emergence of new technologies that have the potential to disrupt our industry, and here in Asia Pacific, we have seen more than 700 million new people living in cities which necessitated the need for higher quality real estate and supporting services.

Encouragingly, Asia Pacific has made positive strides throughout this period and in the 2018 survey, it recorded the biggest improvement of the four major regions globally. There is growing recognition by governments, occupiers and investors that transparency is necessary for an efficient real estate market. It can help fuel economic activity and build community well-being, which has led to new reforms and greater market intelligence. Taiwan is a good example, where government initiatives such as the Real Estate Tax Declaration platform are continuing to increase the availability and quality of real estate data, and leading to steadily improving transparency.

Remarkably, it was emerging markets in South and Southeast Asia that led the way in transparency gains in the 2018 Index. Myanmar was the biggest improver in the region and globally, benefitting from initiatives to open up its economy, which also increased foreign investor interest. India was another striking story, where the introduction and implementation of the Real Estate Regulatory Act, and removal of roadblocks related to the REIT industry, were instrumental in progressing the government’s agenda to reduce corruption and improve transparency. It is interesting to note that recent news articles are speculating that Blackstone and Embassy Group will file a prospectus for a REIT IPO soon, which would be a first for the country and will surely be another positive step in its move up the transparency ladder. Thailand and Vietnam also made solid gains, almost reaching the next transparency tier, while more regulatory scrutiny in Macau helped pushed it into the “Semi-transparent” tier.

Although emerging markets saw the greatest momentum, mature economies also took positive steps forward, with Australia and New Zealand remaining the standard-bearers for transparency and maintaining their spots near the top of the global rankings. South Korea moved into the “Transparent” tier as heightened investor interest supported improved market coverage by information providers. The continued implementation of a carbon trading scheme was also a positive step on the sustainability front, an area lacking across many markets in the region.

Despite the positive momentum, the region’s evolving economy and real estate industry will make public and private sector participation even more essential to meeting the growing pressures to push transparency further ahead as it comes under greater scrutiny and with new technologies testing traditional industry structures.

For more information about real estate transparency, please visit our interactive website

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