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Middle East and North Africa

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​​Global Real Estate Transparency Index 2016

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MENA sees a gradual improvement

Out of the 18 Middle East and North African (MENA) markets covered in the Transparency Index, seven have shown a notable improvement since 2014. Five of the markets included in 2014 have seen little or no change, with a further four markets witnessing a decline in transparency. Dubai has retained its position as the most transparent market in the MENA region, recording continued progress. The strongest advances over the past two years have been achieved in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan. Two new markets – Iran and Djibouti – have been added to the Index for the first time, reflecting increased interest among international investors, developers and occupiers.

MENA Real Estate Transparency Index, 2016

 

Source: JLL, LaSalle Investment Management​​​​​​​


Dubai remains the region’s most transparent real estate market

The Dubai government acknowledges the role that improving transparency plays in increasing levels of foreign investment in its real estate market. Its new Open Data Law aims to promote the sharing of non-confidential data between government and non-government entities. The Dubai Land Department which manages the Emirate’s Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), has implemented several new measures to advance the accessibility and quality of real estate data available to potential investors. Improvements have also been made to the drafting and enforcement of real estate contracts and the resolution of real estate disputes. Meanwhile, the greater use of standard residential leases has reduced complexity and increased transparency.

In line with the Dubai strategic plan 2015, the latest regulatory change has seen the Municipality mandate a series of green building regulations, which include specifications to be applied to all newly-constructed buildings from March 2014.

Saudi Arabia becomes second most transparent market in MENA

Saudi Arabia has moved into the ‘Semi-Transparent’ category for the first time. The formation of real estate committees in the Chambers of Commerce has highlighted the issue of low transparency in the market and encouraged more action towards addressing the issue. As a result there has been some mild improvement in ‘open data’ platforms such as registering property transactions with the Ministry of Justice which is then shared publicly on its website. With the influx of international developers, real estate consultants have also entered the Saudi Arabian market, leading to an increase in coverage of the market.

Egypt continues to improve

The improvements recorded in the 2014 survey have continued in Egypt, which has moved up to fourth place within the MENA region over the past two years. Much of this progress can be attributed to the new political roadmap which has seen the introduction of a new constitution. The government has implemented a number of initiatives to enable greater real estate transparency – these include stronger steps to register property title (an important first step in expanding the mortgage system in Egypt) and to provide more transparency in the allocation of government housing.

Iran – back on the radar

Following the lifting of sanctions, an increasing number of European, African and Asian investors, developers and corporate occupiers have renewed their interest in real estate opportunities in Iran. As a result, we have included Iran in GRETI for the first time, where it makes its entrance at a respectable 77th in the global ranking, broadly in line with neighbouring MENA nations such as Kuwait and Qatar, and ahead of neighbouring Pakistan and Iraq.​​​

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