A newly released biannual Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI) 2016 by property consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), Nigeria ranks 83rd out of 109 markets covered.Nigeria’s real estate transparency score was 3.8 in 2016, a marked improvement in transparency. The scores in the Index range between one and five, with one representing the highest level of transparency and five being the least transparent.
The index reveals, which countries provide the most favourable operating environments for investors, developers and corporate occupiers. Covering 109 markets worldwide, it quantifies transparency based on 139 variables relating to transaction processes, regulatory & legal frameworks, and corporate governance. Higher real estate transparency is associated with stronger investor and corporate real estate activity.
JLL’s 2016 index reveals that real estate transparency has continued to improve steadily at a sub-national, national and international level. Globally, transparency scores have advanced by an average of 2.4per cent (2014-2016), matching broadly the improvements made between 2010-2012 (at 2.9per cent) and 2012-2014 (at 3.4per cent). Two-thirds of markets have shown progress over the past two years.
The Anglosphere countries continue to dominate the upper echelons of the transparency hierarchy – accounting for six of the world’s ten ‘Highly Transparent’ markets. The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States hold the top positions.
Technology is also allowing some emerging markets to leapfrog the normal transparency evolution. Examples include the digitisation of land registries in Kenya and Ecuador, while Ghana is reportedly trialing a system to record title deeds with blockchain technology.
With growing interest in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) from corporates and international real estate investors, GRETI 2016 has further extended its footprint across the region to provide coverage of 15 countries, with Rwanda, Tanzania and Ivory Coast joining the 12 countries surveyed in GRETI 2014 (which itself was up from eight SSA countries in GRETI 2012).
GRETI 2016 reveals that SSA has continued to make advances in real estate transparency over the last two years, although progress has been more mixed than in 2014, when SSA registered the largest improvement among the global regions.
Out of the 12 markets from the region included in the 2014 Index, six (Nigeria, Botswana, Zambia, Ethiopia, Angola and Ghana) have recorded reasonable progress in transparency. Advances in the ‘market fundamentals’, ‘performance measurement’ and ‘governance of listed vehicles’ sub-indices have supported the overall regional improvement, as greater involvement by international real estate consultancies and local data providers elevates the level of access to information about real estate markets.
Despite these advances, the region has crucially also seen a slight deterioration in the sub-indices scores for the ‘regulatory and legal environment’ and ‘transaction process’ sub-indices, as development in improving the legislative and operating environment appears to have slowed in several markets, with two countries – South Africa and Mozambique – registering a noteworthy decline in overall score.
While tangible improvements in transparency are being made, SSA is still some distance from competing equally with its regional counterparts and sizeable efforts will be needed to close the gap with other global regions.