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Gains made in transparency for Thai property market

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THAILAND has been ranked 34th in the Global Real Estate Transparency Index (GRETI) 2018 put out by property consultancy firm JLL.

The result in the newly released biannual represents a marked improvement from the 2016 edition of the index when the country was ranked 38th.

Compared with the other six countries from Southeast Asia covered by the index, Thailand is ranked the third most transparent real estate market in the sub-region, followed by Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar, which were ranked globally 42nd, 48th, 61st and 73rd, respectively.

JLL said the 10th edition of the GRETI contains the most comprehensive country comparisons of data availability, governance, transaction processes, property rights and the regulatory/legal environment around the world. The 2018 Index covers 100 countries and 158 city markets, and the number of individual factors covered has increased by 36 per cent to 186 factors.

The company’s managing director, Suphin Mechuchep, said that transparency across Thailand’s real estate markets has continuously improved over the last decade thanks largely to the increased availability of and access to market data. While the growth of listed companies and real estate investment vehicles has contributed a lot to improving financial disclosures, greater regulatory enforcement, the planned introduction of a new property tax system and steps to digitise its land registry will underpin the country’s improvement in real estate transparency further, Suphin said.

“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,” she said.

Asia Pacific’s mature economies, such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, have a significant opportunity to advance real estate transparency through property technology adoption. These leading investment destinations are on the cusp of the “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 global research at JLL. “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 adds. “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.”

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.

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

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, JLL said.




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