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Cuba set to legalize buying and selling of homes

The New York Times had an excellent story and slideshow today on the impact of a new law allowing the sale of homes. Currently, all housing is owned by the government. As they reported:

When Cuba legalizes buying and selling by the end of the year — as the government promised again this week — José and many others expect a cascade of changes: higher prices, mass relocation, property taxes and a flood of money from Cubans in the United States and around the world.

Desmond Boylan / Reuters

People look at removable tattoos for sale at a soviet-era apartment block in Havana July 3. Cuba will authorize limited housing and car markets by 2012, the Communist party newspaper Granma said on Friday, a move awaited by local residents since the early 1960s when home and most auto sales were banned. Granma, reporting on a recent meeting of top level party, government and other officials, said Cubans would still be prohibited from owning more than one home. But for the first time, they could buy and sell the dwellings with minimal government interference.

Enrique De La Osa / Reuters

Cars drive on a street in Havana July 1, 2011. Cuba will authorize limited housing and car markets by 2012.

AFP - Getty Images

Cuban self-employed Lorenzo Conejo fixes a bicycle wheel's spokes in front of his house, on June 21 in Havana. Many Cubans make their business using any tools or workspace available in an effort to adapt to the the new economic rules.


A man repairs his house in Havana July 13. Cuba has begun lifting restrictions on individual economic activity earning applause from local residents even as the moves stoke anger over why the prohibitions existed in the first place and the many that remain. President Raul Castro has loosened regulation since taking over for his ailing brother Fidel as he moves Cuba's Soviet-style economy in a more market friendly direction and battles the paralyzing and often corrupt bureaucracy and black market it has fostered.

Enrique De La Osa / Reuters

A man goes down stairs of his house in Havana July 1.