THE emergence of sustainable property development and digitization helped lift real estate transparency in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, according to a report by property consultant JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle) and investment manager LaSalle Investment Management.
The latest Global Real Estate Transparency Index report, which is released every two years, showed the Philippines as among the top 10 biggest improvers globally for 2020.
Described as an “essential guide for companies operating in foreign markets,” the index measures investment performance, market fundamentals, governance of listed vehicles, regulatory and legal frameworks, transaction processes and sustainability.
The Philippines inched up to the 44th spot on this year’s index, from 45th in 2018. Other Asia-Pacific markets posted the biggest improvement on the index are: China (32nd), Thailand (33rd), India (34th), Indonesia (40th) and Vietnam (56th).
This year’s list covered 99 countries and 163 city regions. The United Kingdom topped the index, followed by the United States, Australia, France, Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden and Germany.
Singapore (14th) had the highest ranking among Asian countries, followed by Hong Kong (15th) and Japan (16th).
The Philippines remained at the “semi-transparent” tier, the third out of five classifications, which the report defined as the spot for countries with steady improvements but still need to address corporate governance and regulatory enforcement issues.
In a statement, JLL said the turnout for the Philippines and Asia-Pacific this year is attributable to the improvements made in sustainable development and property technology.
“Sustainability, including a rise in the number of green-certified buildings, contributed to the Philippines’ improvement,” JLL Philippines Capital Markets Head P. Ryan Isip was quoted as saying.
“The Philippines has also undertaken an initiative to digitize the land registry, leading to better quality records and easier access,” he added.
The report mentioned the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act of 2019 and the green bond issuance of a local developer in early 2020 as among the drivers that helped improve real estate transparency in the Philippines.
These trends towards sustainability and digitization are similar with what was observed in the rest of the region, where sustainability commitments have become the biggest single driver of real estate transparency, JLL said.
The increased use of digital tools due to the coronavirus pandemic also led to the global rise in real estate transparency.
“As the adoption of (property technology) and sustainability commitments continue to garner steam, greater transparency gains will be driven by both an evolving regulatory landscape and the collective actions by national real estate industries,” JLL Southeast Asia Chief Executive Officer Chris Fossick said in the statement.
“With the outbreak of COVID-19, it will become even more crucial for the real estate industry to work collaboratively with local governments to achieve greater transparency and meet the changing expectations of investors,” he added. — Denise A. Valdez