This topic examines the steps, time, and cost involved in registering a property, assuming a standardized case of an entrepreneur who wants to purchase land and a building that is already registered and free of title dispute. In addition, the topic measures the quality of the land administration system in each economy. The quality of land administration index has five dimensions: reliability of infrastructure, transparency of information, geographic coverage, land dispute resolution, and equal access to property rights. The most recent round of data collection for the project was completed in May 2019. See the methodology and webinar for more information.

Doing Business reforms

Improving the quality of land administration

Valid property rights are necessary to support investment, productivity, and economic growth. Evidence from economies around the world suggests that property owners with registered titles are more likely to invest. They also have a better chance of getting credit when using their property as collateral. Likewise, having reliable, up-to-date information in cadasters and land registries is essential for governments to assess and collect property taxes correctly.

Twenty-four economies made registering property easier by increasing the efficiency of property transfers and improving the quality of land administration in 2018/19. The most common aspects of reform included increasing the transparency of information and improving administrative efficiency by reducing the time to transfer property. Togo, which made the most significant improvement in the ease of registering property in 2018-19, decreased the registration and notary fees, established a one-stop-shop for submission of transfer documents and payment of registration fees and improved transparency by publishing the fee schedule and the commitment to deliver cadastral products and services. Qatar, the second biggest improver, created a one-stop-shop for transferring properties which eliminated interactions between applicants and different employees at the Ministry of Justice, decreasing the time and the number of procedures to 1 day and 1 procedure.  Qatar likewise improved transparency by publishing official statistics tracking the number of real estate dispute cases in the Supreme Judicial Council and providing a specific timeframe for issuing deeds.

With 10 total reforms captured by Doing Business 2020, Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the most reforms relating to the transfer of property in 2018/19. Ethiopia made the list of documents required for completing property registration, the service standard for delivering a legally binding document that proves property ownership, and official statistics tracking the number of property transactions publicly available online. Mauritius published service standards and decreased time to transfer property by providing online access to notaries to its database to conduct title searches and check for encumbrances. Guinea reduced the fees to register the sale contract with the National Tax Authorities from 5% to 2% of the property value.

In the Middle East and North Africa, as the second region reforming the most, Bahrain introduced a new electronic Registration Workflow System (eRWS), an internal network for property registration, decreasing time to register property. Kuwait streamlined the inspection process and property registration and published official service standards on property transfers. Oman made registering property faster by reducing the time to issue deeds and improved its land administration system by publishing official service standards on property transfers.

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Reforms implemented in 2018/19 are available here.

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Summaries of reforms by economy, since DB2008:

= Doing Business reform making it easier to do business. = Change making it more difficult to do business.