US Commercial Property Market Losing Ground to Europe: Jones Lang LaSalle

When it comes to transparency in the commercial real estate market, a number of European markets are catching up with the traditional leaders, according to the latest two-yearly index by real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). Sweeden, Ireland and France now rank among the top-ten most transparent commercial property markets compared to the 2006-2008 report, catching up with some of the traditional leaders — Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. Of the 15 global markets that moved up in rankings, nine are in Europe and the other six are in the Asia Pacific. The US now ranks 6 in the GRETI 2010 highly transparent markets list: The United States slipped four spots since the last JLL global CRE transparency index. By way of comparison, Ireland moved up two places, Sweden three and France four spots. “It suggests that the recent turmoil in global financial, economic and real estate markets has impacted on market behavior, with real estate players focusing on survival rather than market advancement,” said Jacques Gordon, global head of strategy for LaSalle Investment Management, in a statement. He added: “It is interesting to note that the most highly transparent countries experienced illiquidity and volatility over last two years, despite their positions at the top of the transparency rankings.” The US boasts the highest score globally in market fundamentals, and also ranks high in the performance measurement category. The US scores relatively lower in the regulatory and legal category, as well as the transaction process category. Interests are typically aligned between management and shareholders in the majority of US real estate investment trusts (REITs), though at times a misalignment can compromise the country’s score in the regulatory and legal category, Jones Lang LaSalle said. The availability of information on pre-sales brings down the US transaction process sub-index score, and the country has not obtained a highly-transparent rating on lending regulations. Write to Diana Golobay. Disclosure: the author holds no relevant investments.

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