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Cuba Sees Creation of New Property Market

By Allison Halliday | November 8, 2011
  • Details of new legislation in Cuba have just been announced, which if passed on November 10 by the General Assembly will allow the creation of a property market for the first time since Fidel Castro swept to power. The new legislation would give residents the right to sell, exchange or donate property in the event of death, or if they choose to permanently move away or divorce.

    real estate in Cuba
    Cubans are finally going to be able to own their homes © dzain - Fotolia.com

    According to the article in Property Wire, very few details have been released, but the legislation is expected to include limitations on the number of homes that can legally be owned. It will be the first property market in the country since 1959, and should help put an end to bartering and black-market deals which have been the only way Cubans have been able to move during the past few decades. Apparently the aim of this new law is to help make property ownership more flexible, and it'll be interesting to see what effect this new housing market could have on the stagnant economy. The regulations are likely to prohibit residents from owning more than one main residence and one holiday home, with ownership being restricted to Cuban citizens or people who have been granted permanent residence.

    Cuba has a population of around 11 million, and housing is in such short supply that it's not unusual to find several generations living under the same roof. This reform will be the latest in a series of new legislations brought in by the current president Raul Castro. He has already implemented new legislation that allows new cars to be bought and sold, and has also allowed citizens to set up their own businesses in a number of approved occupations. Other changes have included streamlining the economy by making 500,000 government workers redundant.

    The ban on property sales was implemented in 1959 when Fidel Castro first took power, and was an attempt to fight absentee landlords. His reform gave land title to whoever was living in a home, and many wealthy landlords who left Cuba lost their property to the state.

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