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 'Highly Transparent' tier, according to JLL's Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI) 2018, and are poised to join the top group, which includes countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the UK.
"The proptech sector is growing fast, especially in Asia, though adoption is still relatively low compared to North America and Europe," says Jeremy Kelly, Director, Global Research, JLL. "The potential benefits of proptech are certainly not limited to transparent markets. 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."
Denis Ma, Head of Research at JLL in Hong Kong reports, "Our latest transparency survey continues to rank Hong Kong as one of Asia's largest and most transparent real estate markets. The city has been able to carry this distinction despite being one of only a few places in the world that still operates a deeds registration system to record land and property transactions. Yet with the emergence of proptech, there is potential for the city's already efficient real estate markets to become even more so, especially around conveyancing. Reaching these new heights, however, can only be made possible if the government commits moving the 2004 Land Titles Ordinance into law,"
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.
Biggest improvements in Asia Pacific
"Asia Pacific as a whole has made the strongest transparency improvements since 2016 compared to the other four regions covered by the study," says Dr Megan Walters, Head of Research, Asia Pacific at JLL. "This is supported by developments in Myanmar, Macau, Thailand, India and South Korea."
"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," says Dr Walters.
Gregory Ku, Managing Director at JLL Macau commented, "Among the top 10 movers in this year's Global Real Estate Transparency Index, Macau rose 10 places to 60th in the rankings, also marking the first time it has appeared in the Semi-Transparent tier. The progress is mainly attributable to the government's crackdown on money laundering as well as efforts in releasing detailed residential transaction statistics on a monthly basis, and enforcement of new leasing regulations. We look forward to increased availability of real estate information to the public in the future."