ECONOMY

Local property market is now more transparent

The real estate sector has improved its international standing, at least as far as transparency is concerned, according to a report by consultants Jones Lang LaSalle. The report places Greece in 32nd place among 51 countries examined and graded according to a «Global Real Estate Transparency Index.» This may not seem very good, but in 2001 Greece shared last place. Specifically, Jones Lang LaSalle, in an index ranging from 1, for the countries with the most transparent property sector transactions, to 5, for the least transparent ones, gives Greece 3.31. The 2001 report gave Greece a 5, an assessment shared in the current report by countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam. The Global Real Estate Transparency Index was created in 1999 in order to provide companies active in the property sector with a guide to the conditions prevailing in each country. The index measures, first of all, the availability of specialized, accurate information and financial data about properties. It also accounts for the legal framework concerning properties and property transfers, whether property titles are secure, whether property laws are rigorously applied, building and town planning laws and the management of local listed real estate firms. Why a global index? The company that compiles it believes that real estate is now a globalized market, with developers active in many different regions. This makes the importance of transaction transparency and access to a market much greater than in the past. Results show that the most transparent property markets are Australia’s and New Zealand’s, with a score of 1.19. Slightly behind are the United States and Britain, with 1.24 and Canada and the Netherlands, with 1.37. According to the scores awarded, countries are classified as being «transparent,» «relatively transparent,» «semi-transparent» and of «low transparency.» Greece is classified as «semi-transparent.» Since 1999, when the first report was published, 22 countries have retained their classification and 25 have moved to a better category. Recent changes in property laws and the simplification of the tax regime have certainly helped Greece improve its standing, but it is still low among European Union members.