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JLL: Thailand 3rd in regional transparency

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Thailand is ranked 34th on property consultancy JLL's Global Real Estate Transparency Index in 2018, an improvement from 38th position in 2016.

Thailand is ranked the third-most transparent real estate market in the subregion, followed by Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar, ranked globally 42nd, 48th, 61st and 73rd, respectively.

The 2018 index covered 100 countries and 158 city markets, and the number of individual factors covered has increased by 36% to 186 factors.

Improvements in Thailand

"Transparency across Thailand's real estate markets has continuously improved over the last decade thanks largely to increased availability of and access to market data," said Suphin Mechuchep, managing director of JLL.

"While the growth of listed companies and real estate investment vehicles has contributed a lot to improving financial disclosures and greater regulatory enforcement, the planned introduction of a new property tax system and steps to digitise the land registry will underpin the country's improvement in real estate transparency further.

"The improved level of transparency represents a sign of growing maturity of Thailand's real estate market. It helps owners, investors and occupiers identify opportunities and anticipate challenges more accurately, and consequently make better real estate decisions."

Improvements in Asia-Pacific

Asia-Pacific's mature economies such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, have a significant opportunity to advance real estate transparency through proptech adoption. These leading investment destinations are on the cusp of the ranking's highly transparent tier, and are poised to join the top group, which includes countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the US, and the UK.

"The proptech sector is growing fast, especially in Asia, though adoption is still relatively low compared to North America and Europe," said Jeremy Kelly, director of JLL's global research. "We believe the Singapore government could play a key role in promoting proptech adoption through open-data initiatives and the pioneering of blockchain technology."

"The potential benefits of proptech are certainly not limited to transparent markets," he said. "It could also help improve transparency in semi-transparent markets like China, which has a vibrant proptech sector, and where traditional data sources are lacking."

"Asia-Pacific as a whole has made the strongest transparency improvements since 2016 compared with the other four regions covered by the study," said Megan Walters, head of Asia Pacific research at JLL. "This is supported by developments in Myanmar, Macau, Thailand, India and South Korea."

Myanmar has registered the most significant improvement globally, moving up 15 places to join the low transparency group. According to the report, the country continues to open up its economy as increasing investor demand translates into greater market intelligence.

For the first time, South Korea has nudged into the transparent tier, with heightened investor activity pushing improvements in data coverage and a new carbon emissions trading scheme.

Macau has also advanced with a focus on anti-money laundering, resulting in increased monitoring by financial regulators

"It's also worth noting that India's reform-driven government has made significant progress in its agenda to improve transparency and reduce corruption. The Real Estate Regulatory Act, which was passed in 2016 and implemented in 2017, is a regional highlight. The country joins China, Indonesia and Thailand at the top end of the semi-transparent tier," said Ms Walters.

Improvements in transparency in some Asian countries have been accompanied by record-breaking commercial real estate investment volumes. In 2017, real estate transactions in the Asia-Pacific region reached a record US$149 billion (4.94 trillion baht).

Advancing sustainability

Another key area of potential improvement for both Singapore and Hong Kong is in sustainability transparency. Strengthening energy efficiency requirements, carbon reporting and stricter energy consumption disclosure will help them make the step up; and in this regard, they could emulate Japan, which has become a global leader in sustainability transparency.

Progress has been made on sustainability transparency across the region. South Korea introduced a carbon emissions trading scheme; meanwhile Vietnam established its own market-specific Green Building Certification System several years ago and is implementing mandatory minimum energy efficiency standards.

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