Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cubans hit on real estate market

A house in Cuba. Picture by Jose Goitia. NYTimes

A few years ago, I asked a Cuban lady (friend of a friend) how was the real estate market in Cuba and which was the process to sell a house. And she said, you don´t sell a house, there is a system of interchange, you live in a house and then you agree with another person to trade his house for yours, of course the value has to match, but there are another ways, something else you can offer as a bonus, maybe it becomes an interesting deal. Nevertheless, private investments for tourists were increasing.
Today, I´ve read about the new possibilities of buying, selling and remodeling properties, it sounds as good news for me.
From the New York Times on line:
¨All over the capital and in many provincial towns, Cubans are beginning to inject money into the island’s ragged real estate, spurred by government measures to stimulate construction and a new law that allows them to trade property for the first time in 50 years.
The measures are President Raúl Castro’s biggest maneuver yet as he strives to get capital flowing on the island, encourage private enterprise and take pressure off the economically crippled state.
For decades, the government banned real estate sales and kept a jealous grip on construction. Materials were scarce, red tape endless and inspectors meddlesome. Black marketeers would deliver cinder blocks by cover of darkness, and purchasing a bag of sand was a furtive process akin to buying drugs.
But during the past two months the state has reduced paperwork, stocked construction stores, legalized private contractors and begun offering homeowners subsidies and credits.
On many streets, the chip of hammers and gritty slosh of cement mixing rises above the sparse traffic as Cubans paint facades, build extensions or gut old houses. Still, it is generally small-scale stuff (....) Behind scruffy porticos and walls of bougainvillea, the wheels of the property trade are turning. Unofficial brokers — who are still outlawed in Cuba — say they have never been so busy, trawling the streets and the Internet for leads and fielding calls from prospective buyers.
Cubisima, an online classified service, said the number of hits on its real estate page tripled to an average of 900 per day after the new property law took effect on Nov. 10. The law allows Cubans to buy and sell their houses, and even own a second home outside the cities, though it still bars most foreigners from buying.
It is a crude market, where househunters rely on word of mouth and prices are based as much on excitement as on any clear sense of property values, according to interviews with homeowners, brokers and experts.¨

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