Can You Buy A Second Home In Cuba?

Can You Buy A Second Home In Cuba?

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Calle Obispo with the Hotel Ambos Mundos (Hemingway's haunt), Havana, Cuba

A fresh wind of opportunity is about blow into Cuba with the announcement of the construction of  nine golf resorts that is to commence as early as this May. Well known for its communist regime, Cuba might finally enter a new era as the government is keen to attract more overseas investors and tourism.

While the thought of buying a £70,000 property in the Caribbean might attract many, there are many things to consider before you actually part with your money.

There seems to be no doubt that with the retirement of Fidel Castro might come new and better opportunities for investors into Cuba, but the process is still tiresome and riddled with red tape.

If you are happy to acquire new property in Cuba for a bargain compared to other destinations in the Caribbean with a 75 year lease rather than outright freehold rights, then yes, you could become a new property owner in no time. However, this only applies to non American citizens as they are currently not allowed to buy property in Cuba.

Europeans and Canadians have free range to take advantage of the favorable prices but we think it is fair to say that most would cringe at the 75 year lease clause. Why would one want to invest thousands of dollars to own a property for a short amount of time in the first place?

To make matters even more worrisome, Cuba also sits right in the destructive path of a Hurricane alley and residents of the island certainly suffer the consequences of some damage most years. Not entirely a comforting thought for those ready to part with their money.

The Cuban property law also prohibits locals from selling their own properties; they are only allowed to swap if they wanted to move or change. While many still do deals under the table and money changes hands unlawfully, this also poses a problem to overseas buyers who decide to sell for profit later down the track. This law limits them from selling to locals and with the ever increasing cost of flights it might also become an issue to sell your Cuban property to another overseas buyer.

There is no doubt that Cuba offers buyers a lot in terms of cost efficiency and scenic beauty, but when we look at the other aspects of buying such as infrastructure, laws and ease of ownership it is clear that buying property in Cuba isn’t as straightforward as one might think. In the least you should inform yourself about all your options before you rush to buy those property bargains.

Photo credits: Paul Mannix via Flickr