Summary of Cuba’s New Real Estate Market

Latin America Initiative Working Paper

Brookings Institution,

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Cuba’s New Real Estate Market summary
After five decades of restrictions on property rights, Cubans now can buy and sell property legally.


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After more than 50 years of transacting covertly, Cubans now have the right to buy and sell property openly and legitimately. Prior to the passage of legislation in 2011, Cubans’ homes served strictly as shelters, not assets. The new law expands human rights, normalizes property rules, and gives Cuban citizens the potential to amass personal wealth and gain better housing. getAbstract recommends this on-the-ground recounting of the birth of a “new and unusual real estate market” for its insights into Cuba’s road to economic reform.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Cuba’s housing policy has evolved since 1960,
  • How reforms are creating a private real estate market in Cuba, and
  • Why Cuba still suffers from a serious housing shortage.


Cuba’s 1960 Urban Reform Law set out the state’s view that “housing is for people to live in, not to live from.” The law turned renters into homeowners, eventually granting renters legal title to their residences. But this and subsequent legislation prohibited private parties from buying and selling...
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About the Author

Philip Peters is president of the Cuba Research Center, a nonprofit based in Virginia.

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