UK rated world number one as Europe sets the standard on real estate transparency

transparent real estateEurope is leading the way on real estate transparency as a raft of new sustainability legislation raises industry standards, according to the latest Global Real Estate Transparency Index [registration] published by JLL, in partnership with LaSalle. Six of the 12 countries classed as ‘Highly Transparent’ in the report are in Europe with France, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium among the most improved, joining Ireland and Sweden.

The UK once again tops the index with the conflict in Ukraine reviving stalled legislation which will require overseas owners of real estate to disclose their beneficial owners in a public accessible register. Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham (BT’s HQ in the city pictured) are all among the top 20 most transparent cities, while London is top ahead of New York and Paris.

The World Economic Forum has acknowledged the real estate sector as responsible for more than 20 percent of the world’s carbon emissions and other environmental impacts. However, Europe is leading the world in driving improvements and greater transparency, through a combination of enhanced regulation, tracking of sustainability metrics and integration of technology.

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Globally, the US is rated number two in the index while Japan joins the ‘Highly Transparent’ list for the first time. Australia, Canada and New Zealand round out the top 12. In Mainland China, Shanghai and Beijing have solidified their positions in the ‘Transparent’ tier with enhancements in data availability, technology, consistency of regulations, and property management. India is among the top global improvers with greater professionalisation of the sector, new regulations and increased market data.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the top two improvers overall, with Dubai entering the ‘Transparent’ tier for the first time as it benefits from a government focus on improving market transparency, leading to better data coverage, enhanced digital services, new regulations around market lending practices and sustainability reporting.

The most significant advances since 2020 have been made in sustainability, as countries and cities follow up on their climate commitments with increasing building energy performance standards and reporting requirements while green and healthy building certifications become more widespread. France heads the sustainability rankings with new regulations establishing limits on embodied carbon in buildings and minimum requirements for existing buildings, and the creation of databases to track building-level energy consumption.

The implementation of the EU’s updated Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and a range of other regulations impacting the built environment, such as the Green New Deal and Fit for 55 package will bring further clarity and alignment in Europe.

The index shows a widening gap between the leading countries in Europe and the US and other countries lower down the global rankings where progress has been slow.

Cybersecurity and data protection and demand for better health and social outcomes are also likely to be future transparency considerations. Advances in technology are generating huge volumes of new data, particularly for niche property types as the push for diversification intensifies – but the landscape remains complex and highly fragmented, and the need to ensure privacy and security are protected is also rising.