Australia has the third most transparent real estate industry in the world, according to a report by Jones Lang LaSalle and LaSalle Investment Management.
The 2012 Global Real Estate Transparency Index, a Jones Lang LaSalle survey that calculates transparency in 97 real estate markets worldwide by weighting 83 different factors, has ranked the United States ranks as the world’s most transparent real estate market in 2012.
The US was followed closely by the United Kingdom and Australia, with The Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, France, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland all ranked in the report's ‘Highly Transparent’ category.
Of Australia's northern neighbours, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand showed the most improvement since the previous survey in 2010, when many countries were more focused on combating the impact of the GFC rather than issues relating to transparency, the report said.
According to the report, nearly 90 per cent 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.
Environmental sustainability has emerged as an important transparency factor with the United Kingdom, Australia and France the most transparent markets in terms of real estate sustainability.
The report described Australia as a “test bed for new environmental laws, regulations and incentives”.
The report comes shortly after the new Queensland state government scrapped the requirement for sustainability declarations, which saw the vendor provide details relating to their property's energy efficiency.
The report said a property's sustainability traits would play a more prominent role in leasing and investment decisions going forward.
"Such concerns will force greater transparency of energy efficiency and Green Building benchmarking," it said.
Jeremy Kelly, national director, Global Research at Jones Lang LaSalle, said there is still work to be done on an international scale in relation to transparency.
“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," he said.
“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.”