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Cuba property buying and selling

Mar 19 , 2024

In order to understand the process of purchase or sale of real estate in Cuba, it is necessary to know how these transactions are carried out under Cuban law.

Until not too many years ago, buying and selling was disqualified as an option to change domicile, but the only existing alternative was to swap. This impossibility was an obstacle for people to find their ideal home, since in many cases the interest in exchanging homes was not reciprocal or the conditions were not fair to both parties.

Although the swaps informally provide for monetary compensation in the event of an unequal exchange of apartments, the law did not provide for such a possibility.

Regulations for buying and selling in recent years

The scenario changed with the implementation of Legislative Decree 288 in 2011, which allowed greater management by natural persons of their residential properties, allowing thepurchase and sale for all natural persons.

The government’s control over the real estate market was not diminished by this change. This is because it has maintained, with variations over the years, reference values for setting prices that take into account the conditions of the property and the area in which it is located.

New measures to modify these benchmarks were adopted last December. The new developments included a significant increase in these values and a reassessment of the factors influencing the price. By increasing taxes on these transactions, these measures aim to reduce the budget deficit.

Certainly, these reference values do not correspond to the prices established in the market, since houses in Cuba are sold in dollars or euros, to be paid inside or outside of Cuba, and also the prices are much higher than these reference values, which are only used to comply with the bureaucratic procedure.

Special features of today’s real estate market

Living in Cuba is becoming increasingly complex for those living in Cuba. Prices have been driven down by the desperation of many people to sell their properties and leave Cuba. The most affected areas are the outskirts of the city, as prices in the most central areas of the capital (especially for small plots) are so low they are virtually unsellable in other areas of the province or in outlying municipalities such as San Miguel or Córdoba.

On the other hand, it is contradictory the constant increase in rental prices in Havana, or the amount of properties published in sales sites exceeding figures of one million dollars.

Steps for buying and selling

Negotiation and purchase agreement:

The process begins with negotiations between the seller and the buyer to reach an agreement on the price, the terms and conditions of the sale, and other relevant terms and conditions.

Contract of Sale:

Once the terms are agreed upon, the transaction is formalized by a purchase contract that details the terms of the sale, the price, the description of the property, and other relevant aspects.

Verification of legal compliance:

It is important to conduct a legal review to ensure that the property is free of liens or encumbrances and that the seller has the legal authority to sell the home.

Payment & Formalization:

Once the previous steps have been completed, we proceed with the payment of the agreed price (with reference values and their respective taxes) and the formalization of the transfer of ownership in accordance with local regulations.

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