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Real Estate Transparency Across 158 Cities

Real Estate transparency has been identified as one of the fundamental drivers of a city’s success, one which can increase efficiency, facilitate new business activity and investment, and enhance the quality of life of its citizens.

A shift in focus

JLL and LaSalle’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index has turned its attention to city-level transparency for the first time in 2018, extending coverage to 158 metropolitan areas globally. This is a response to the shifting focus from national to city-level strategies by investors and corporate occupiers.

Unsurprisingly, the inaugural City Transparency Index confirms the major Anglophone cities at the top of the ranking. London takes top spot as the world’s most transparent real estate market, followed by Los Angeles, Sydney and San Francisco.

The World’s Most Transparent City Markets

  • 1
    London
  • 2
    Los Angeles
  • 3
    Sydney
  • 4
    San Francisco
  • 5
    Manchester
  • 6
    New York
  • 7
    Melbourne
  • 8
    Washington DC
  • 9
    Birmingham
  • 10
    Boston
  • 11
    Seattle
  • 12
    Miami
  • 13
    San Diego
  • 14
    Denver
  • 15
    Brisbane
  • 16
    Portland
  • 17
    Edinburgh
  • 18
    Chicago
  • 19
    Glasgow
  • 20
    Dallas
  • 21
    Baltimore
  • 22
    Paris
  • 23
    Toronto
  • 24
    Houston
  • 25
    Phoenix

Source: JLL, LaSalle

More unexpected, perhaps, is the proliferation of mid-sized cities in the upper ranks of the transparency spectrum. With extensive market data availability and robust regulatory and legal frameworks, the likes of Manchester, San Diego, Boston and Brisbane feature among the world’s most transparent markets.

City transparency levels differ within countries

The Index also reveals the disparity between city markets in the same country, showing the varying governance structures, unique local regulations and different levels of sector maturity which national-level measurement obscures. For example:

  • Secondary cities in France and Japan lag Paris and Tokyo respectively, as the centralised nature of these nations mean market tracking is more limited beyond capital cities;
  • Los Angeles and San Francisco rank as more transparent than New York, which has its own set of local measurement standards, or cities in Texas, where non-disclosure laws impact their overall transparency scores;
  • In China, the growing ‘professionalisation’ of the real estate sector has lifted Shanghai and Beijing well above their peers, as they sit alongside other emerging megacities on the edge of the ‘Transparent’ category.

Ultimately, real estate transparency is a key ingredient of a successful, future-proof city and plays a vital role in creating an open and efficient operating environment for investors, developers and corporate occupiers.

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