Friday, September 28, 2012

Cuba registers more gifts of homes than sales

Cuba registers more gifts of homes than sales
IANSBy Indo Asian News Service | IANS

Havana, Sep 28 (IANS/EFE) Between January and August of this year, Cuban
notaries handled some 45,000 property transactions, with gifts of real
estate exceeding sales, an official with the justice ministry said.

Olga Lidia Perez Diaz Thursday discussed at a press conference the new
law in force for almost a year that allows purchases and sales of real
estate and the gifting of homes according to contracts between
individuals, a law that put an end to the decades-long prohibition on
such activity.

She warned of legal consequences for anyone found to have disguised a
sale as a donation in an attempt to avoid paying taxes.

Nevertheless, she said that over the year that the law has been in force
not a single transaction has been nullified.

Of the 45,000 transactions, the majority occurred in Havana and the
provincial capitals.

The government of President Raul Castro last November gave the green
light to Decree 288, which modified the General Housing Law of 1988 by
easing restrictions on the transfer of housing among private individuals.

The measure - along with another similar one governing the buying and
selling of vehicles - is part of the government's economic reform plan
to "update" the socialist model and put an end to decades of
prohibitions and restrictions in assorted areas.

According to the National Housing Institute, 85 percent of Cuba's
roughly 3.7 million homes are within the sphere of private property.

Up until 2010, Cuba, which has 11.2 million citizens, had an
acknowledged shortage of some 600,000 houses, and - according to
government figures - more than 50 percent of all such structures are in
need of repair.


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