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Urban Geography




The emerging literature on the globalization of real estate has addressed how internationally circulating capital has increasingly found its ways into housing markets of the "Global South". With relatively underdeveloped financial and real estate markets, these countries have discursively and materially been rebranded as emerging markets, that is, they have been shaped into frontiers in the global urbanization of capital. In this paper we scrutinize the transnational real estate networks that shape and reshape the Cuban housing market. First, we reconstruct how, following the 2011 legalization of housing prices set between buyers and sellers, Cuban migrants and a few foreign investors, in cooperation with Cubans residing in Cuba, are buying properties in Cuba's cities, beach resorts and other towns. Second, we explore the economic and extra-economic motives behind such transnational property transactions, highlighting how residential properties are bought and converted into private restaurants or hotels. Central to our analysis is that the present development is not simply shaped by local or national demand and processes but also by international investment. We contend that a pattern of economic globalization unfolds where transnational remittances, rather than institutional investments or mortgage finance, steer Cuba's emerging property market, along with local investments among Cuban citizens.


© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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0000-0002-7314-3091 (Bono)

Original Publication Citation

Wijburg, G., Aalbers, Manuel B., & Bono, F. (2020). Cuban migrants and the making of Havana’s property market. Urban Geography, 1-26.