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Communist Cuba to allow real estate transactions

 A man drives a horse and carriage in Old Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011. Cuba announced Thursday it will allow real estate to be bought and sol...

Cuba Private Property

A man drives a horse and carriage in Old Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011. Cuba announced Thursday it will allow real estate to be bought and sol...

Cuba announced a new property law Thursday that allows Cubans to buy and sell real estate —a major break from decades of communist housing.

The new rules go into effect on Nov 10. Transactions of various kinds, including sales, trades and gifts to relatives by Cubans who are emigrating, will no longer be subject to government approval, the new law says.

But some restrictions remain, such as only citizens and permanent residents are eligible, and only one primary residence and one vacation home allowed. It is to prevent speculative buying and the accumulation of large real estate holdings.

The change follows October’s legalization of buying and selling cars. The communist government has also allowed citizens to go into business for themselves in a number of jobs, and permitted them to rent out rooms and cars. Cubans will also be allowed to inherit property.

While President Raul Castro has stressed that there will be no departure from Cuba’s socialist model, economists say the new property law will have a profound impact on people’s lives.

The new law requires that all real estate transactions be made through Cuban bank accounts so that they can be better regulated, and it sets a tax rate of 8 per cent of the assessed value.

Cuba became a fully communist country in 1961, two years after the 1959 Revolution when Fidel Castro overthrew the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Cuba’s communist government employs about 80% of the workforce, provides free education and health care, nearly free housing, transportation and basic foods.

President Raul Castro, Fidel Castro’s brother, has since announced several economic reforms since he assume office in 2008.


Updated : 2021-04-14 13:07 GMT+08:00