JLL Releases Global Real Estate Transparency Index 2014

jllIndia Shows Moderate Improvement   

INDIA, 25 June 2014: Where transparency broadens, real estate capital flows and market change follows. JLL’s eighth Global Real Estate Transparency Index, covering 102 markets worldwide, shows continued progress in the transparency of commercial real estate around the world. Over 80% of markets have registered improvement since 2012. The top improvers in each survey generally correlate with a surge in foreign direct investment and corporate occupier activity, as investors help to accelerate transparency reforms and governments realise that poor transparency will affect continued inward investment, long-term growth prospects and the quality of life of citizens.

Nowhere is the relationship between market sophistication and incremental change more apparent than the top tier of the Transparency Index. Highly Transparent markets have had the types of reforms that may propel other countries from the Low to Semi-Transparent rung for many years. As a result, progress at the highly transparent end of the scale, which remains dominated by Anglophone markets, largely comes down to innovation and technological developments such as open-data initiatives.

These kinds of innovations will be critical catalysts of change in real estate transparency moving forward, since the digital information revolution is being fuelled by a young, hyper-connected, information hungry, highly transient workforce generation.


Jeremy Kelly, Director – Global Research, JLL says, ”The primary cities in India have shown modest improvements in transparency over the past two years, mainly due to advancement in market data availability.  Progress has nonetheless been the strongest in the Asia Pacific region, with Indian cities starting to make up for lost ground against other BRIC markets, where progress has been weaker. We expect momentum in transparency improvements to build over the next two years.  For example, India is likely to enact the Real Estate Regulation Bill, which seeks to improve regulation over real estate agents and the quality of land registry records.  More generally, India could see faster improvements in real estate transparency, with the new government undoubtedly in a stronger position to push through economic reforms.”

World’s most transparent real estate markets in 2014


(Source: JLL, LaSalle Investment Management)

Across the globe, key drivers of transparency improvement include:

  • Governments’ recognition that poor transparency affects investment and quality of life
  • Media spotlight on corruption, scandals and building accidents
  • A rise in cross-border investments fuelled by more robust real estate markets
  • Millennials’ expectations, pushing “Open Data” and sustainability practices up the agenda

The top improvers in each cycle generally correlate with a surge in foreign direct investment, as investors push through transparency reforms and because governments quickly realize that poor transparency will deter continued inward investment.

The Asia Pacific region continues to display the widest diversity in real estate transparency worldwide – Australia (3rd) and New Zealand (4th) top the Asia Pacific ranks, while Mongolia (99th) and Myanmar (100th) are some of the least transparent countries globally.  In the latest survey, the top tier in Asia Pacific has pushed forward in terms of global rankings (New Zealand from 5th to 4th), but most of the region has not seen much change.  In fact, the lowest rung has fallen in terms of global rankings – Vietnam (from 62th to 68th) and Macau (from 64th to 71st) due to faster progress seen elsewhere in the world, and Mongolia (from 93rd to 99th) due to scores worsening since 2012.

Overall transparency in the region has seen moderate improvements in the 2014 survey, building on advancement in 2010 (due to progress in China and India) and 2012 (led by emerging South East Asian countries).  Only five markets (Japan, Thailand, India Tier 1 & 2 cities and South Korea) have registered moderate score improvements, but none ranks among the global Top 10 improvers; the rest of the region has seen generally small improvement.

Limited improvement in the availability of market fundamentals data and slow progress in regard to policy reforms in the past two years have contributed to the results in 2014:

  • China’s limited improvement in overall real estate transparency is mainly restricted to its Tier I cities.
  • Singapore has inched ahead of Hong Kong once again (also in 2010) in a close race for the top transparency position in Asia, with the latter seeing its scores fall since 2012 in the areas of corporate governance and property taxation.
  • Transparency levels are still low in Japan and South Korea relative to these two countries’ economic maturity. This is largely due to a relative lack of market fundamentals intelligence as well as low transparency regarding reconciliation of services charges for facilities management.
  • India has seen moderate improvements in overall transparency scores for Tier I and II cities (mainly in market fundamentals) and limited gains for Tier III cities.  India still scores among the lowest in the transparency of its transaction process (e.g. high costs of investment transactions, weak professional standards for local agents).


  • All countries in emerging Southeast Asia have seen some improvements (but less significant than 2012 when the sub-region accounted for 3 out of the top 10 global improvers).  The sub-region has generally seen improvements in regulatory/legal and the transaction process.
  • Going forward, the region should see further progress in transparency improvements stemming from both public and private sector players.  Demand from international investors and corporate occupiers should continue to lead to better information on market fundamentals.  Another area that is moving in a positive direction is the regulatory and legal environment.  For example, China plans to introduce a national property registry before 2018, which will probably precede the expansion of a property tax nationally.  Taiwan is currently examining a bill which requires all pre-sales to be declared.  Later this year India is likely to enact the Real Estate Regulation Bill, which seeks to improve regulation over real estate agents and the quality of land registry records.  India could see faster improvements in real estate transparency in the future following the election in May of the first majority government in 30 years; the new government will undoubtedly be in a stronger position to push through economic reforms.