Cuba Real Estate – Time to Invest ?

Boom in Cuba Real Estate

HAVANA, CUBA—The hottest investment in socialist Cuba is Havana real estate. The city’s riotous architecture spans its history: A visitor can admire a Spanish colonial cathedral in Old Havana, sleep in a Mediterranean revival home built at the height of the 1920s sugar boom in the city’s suburbs, admire the sleek lines of the art deco buildings of the 1930s and 1940s, and contrast the garish Miami-style hotels of the 1950s tourist boom with the cement cubes built in the post-revolutionary era.

But the need for new funds is clearly written on many buildings. In the years since the revolution, the city’s housing stock has struggled to find investment, and the bulk of it looks desperate for a rehab and a refresh. Until 2011, when Cuban president Raúl Castro allowed citizens to buy and sell their homes, they could only swap them with another, through a difficult bureaucratic process. Money wasn’t supposed to change hands, though it frequently did.

Now it is doing so legally. The se traspasa (“for exchange”) signs you used to see on buildings have changed to se vende (“for sale”). And the US’s decision to roll back its futile 50-year-old embargo is feeding new money into this nascent housing market.

But are there opportunities for you to invest in Cuba Real Estate?  Would you want to retire there?  Well, it may be too soon to talk about retirement for most America, but for Cuban-Americans it may be coming.   You need to know that the embargo is still in effect and will not allow tourism and most trade. But if you are a Cuban-America, you will be the early beneficiary of the US more normalized relationship with Cuba.

Over half the population of Cuba receive cash from family and friends abroad – to the tune of over two billion dollars. Under the new rules these amounts can quadruple, and the limits on investments in private businesses are eliminated.

Investors in Cuba Real Estate can team up with family members and indeed have been doing to already in the formerly wealthy neighbor hoods like Vedado, Miramar, and Playa. Although Cuba doesn’t allow foreigners to buy Cuban real estate, the locals can do so with the help of family.

It is expected that the barriers to buying real estate in Cuba for American and other foreigner will drop and there will be a huge need for up scale housing for the expected boom in tourism. Tourism is now a $2.5 billion business in Cuba – this from those outside of the US. Once the US tourism barrier falls, watch out!

casa-particulare

Inside a casa particular in Havana (Quartz/Tim Fernholz)

There are needs for investment in Cuba real estate – in infrastructure, hotels, housing and restaurants.

It’s currently rather expensive to travel to Cuba – with hotels starting at $200 per night – if you can even get a room. Experienced visitors to Cuba will stay at private rooms in houses.

Airbnb is doing well in Cuba because of this.

“We launched with more than 1,000 places, and it has doubled to more than 2,000 listings available now in Cuba,” Kay Kuehne, Airbnb’s director for Latin America, told Quartz. “In San Francisco or Berlin, it took three years for the first 1,000 listings. Cuba is really growing fast. On the demand side, search [has] increased 27 times [since the launch]. Within Latin America, it is the most searched destination—more Americans are searching right now for it than Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires.”

Read the article above and leave me your comments. My Cuban-America friend Oscar Fernandez are planning a few real estate real estate trips to Cuba soon – to explore Cuba Real Estate!


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