Data and Transparency global leaders. PHOTO: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - The latest Global Real Estate and Transparency Index (GRETI) has shown an improvement for 10 of 15 African countries, led by Nigeria and Kenya, an industry expert has said.

The index by financial and professional services firm JLL has over the past two decades become established as the leading industry benchmark for assessing market transparency.

London-based JLL official Jeremy Kelly will present the African chapter of the GRETI to 600 of the continent's leading real estate developers and investors at the 9th annual API Summit & Expo in Johannesburg on September 20-21.

"Our aim at the summit will be to draw attention to the importance of real estate transparency, not only in boosting investment, but also enhancing business efficiencies, raising living standards and safeguarding the environment," said Kelly.

Recognised as a global thought leader and advocate for transparency and data across global real estate markets, Kelly will lead discussions on the importance of data and transparency which are vital in establishing market health and making better decisions.

He saud while African countries upward movement in GRETI in 2014 and 2016 were notable, these were mostly off a low base.

Despite the incremental movement up the transparency ladder by the continent's markets, the most encouraging aspect of this year's report was the greater volume and quality of data collected by African firms such as Sagaci Research and Estate intel, Kelly said.

"Overall we continue to see advances made in areas such as the quality and frequency of valuations across many markets in sub-Saharan Africa, while market data availability has also continued to improve for select countries and sectors such as logistics and hotels,” he said.

Africa's youthful population, informality and rapid growth makes measurement challenging but dynamic, said Charles Ballard of Sagaci Research.

"Younger consumers tend to be less conservative and more open to trying new things - the rapidity with which Kenyan consumers adopted mobile money is an excellent example of this trend, " Ballard said.

Forward-thinking and embracing new technology to drive data acquisition and development to improve data access and decision making is an area Africa can use to leap ahead of other markets, said Kelly.

"Africa has an opportunity at this point to utilise blockchain for land registries or transactions, ‘smart’ buildings and infrastructure for facilities management or repair, or new database capabilities for collaborative data sharing between market participants to jumpstart the traditional methods of improving market data and building real estate markets that are fit for the future,” he said.

- African News Agency (ANA)