The Real Deal Miami

Unseen hands broker Cuba’s growing home sales

April 30, 2013 04:00PM

Cuba’s residential real estate market is taking off

Since Raul Castro legalized Cuba’s real estate market, informal brokers have helped to facilitate a swift business on the island, including, it is said, from South Florida, the Cuban exile community’s largest enclave, the Associated Press reported.

While homeownership in Cuba is a right restricted to denizens of the island, Cuban expats are rumored to be buying homes for family members there or for themselves, using relatives as proxies, the AP said.

Some 45,000 home transactions took place in the first eight months after Castro legalized the real estate market in November 2011, the AP reported, citing the most recent statistics from the government.

It remains illegal to broker these deals, but Yosuan Crespo, a 28-year-old computer scientist, told the AP he operates as a licensed computer programmer and photographer, helping clients list their properties online and printing up the marketing brochures.

Crespo said between 30 to 40 customers a day wander into his porch-side business, called EspacioCuba. He says his service has 2,500 current listings and has helped sell about 250 properties since it opened in January, according to the AP.

The continuing prohibition of real estate brokers by the Communist government is symbolic of Castro’s economic reforms, which don’t leave much room for middlemen, the people who connect buyers with sellers and make markets work, the wire service said. [Associated Press]Emily Schmall