Overseas property investors are currently benefiting from a higher degree of transparency in the global market, research claims.

According to real estate specialist Jones Lang LaSalle, Australia, the US and New Zealand are top of the list for the most transparent overseas property markets, followed by Canada and the UK.

These areas are "role models", according to the company, owing to their legal and regulatory procedures.

This year's survey shows a total of 23 countries ranking as either highly transparent or transparent, an increase from 21 in 2004, with Sweden, Hong Kong, France and Singapore all moving up in their rating.

Jacques Gordon, LaSalle Investment Management's global investment strategist, said that, since the survey began in 1999, the company has "charted gradual improvement in a number of transparency measures, but progress has been especially rapid in the last two years".

"Overall, two-thirds of the countries ranked in our 2004 survey exhibited some or significant improvement. Some 14 countries moved up a full tier in our five-tier transparency ranking system and none slipped back," he added.

While they remained in the same tier as 2004, both Mexico and the United Arab Emirates exhibited improvement, while Vietnam and Venezuela were among the least transparent countries.

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    Carol McDonald