JLL: U.S. Home to Five of the 10 ‘Most Transparent’ Markets Worldwide

The United States is home to five of the ten most transparent real estate markets in the world, reported JLL, Chicago.

Nationally, the U.S. ranked third behind the United Kingdom and Australia. But there are differences between cities even in highly transparent markets. JLL ranked Los Angeles the second most transparent city in the world behind London. San Francisco ranked fourth behind Sydney, Australia.

“One of the big reasons these differences occur is because American state and municipal governments have autonomy to make their own rules around transaction disclosure and taxation,” said JLL Investment Management Vice President of Research and Strategy Daniel Mahoney. “The transparency range in the U.S. is smaller than in many other countries, like China and Russia, thanks to high-quality data standards that are commonly applied to both tertiary and primary markets, but the divergence between U.S. markets is still often underappreciated.”

JLL said local laws shape transparency. For example, property taxes are more predictable in some states such as California than in others which reduces risk. It also cited Texas’ nondisclosure laws that prevent real estate transaction sales prices from being made public. “Because only 12 states are fully nondisclosure states, overall transparency levels in the cities within them can be lower than some of their national peers,” the Real Estate Transparency Across 158 Cities report said.

But in the big picture, Texas is considered transparent, the report noted. Both Dallas and Houston ranked in the top 25 list of most transparent cities in the world, Dallas at No. 20 slot and Houston at No. 24.

Other American metros that ranked in the top 10 cities worldwide for transparency included New York, Washington, D.C. and Boston. Seattle, Miami, San Diego, Denver, Portland, Ore., Chicago, Baltimore and Phoenix also ranked in the top 25 most transparent cities worldwide.

“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,” the report said.