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Buying and selling of homes in Cuba grew 2 pct. in 1st half of 2013

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Havana, Nov 5 (EFE).- The buying and selling of houses in Cuba increased by 2 percent in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2012, an official with the Justice Ministry cited in local media said Tuesday.

The expert with the Property, Business and Estate Register, Aniuska Puente, said that the trend has been "rising" for housing sales among individuals, which were authorized in 2011 as one feature of the economic reform plan implemented by President Raul Castro.

Puente said that a total of 873,314 properties have been entered into the Property Register so far this year, of which 659,968 are individual homes and the rest are state properties, the local Prensa Latina news agency reported.

According to official figures, the island has some 3.7 million homes and of those 85 percent are classed as individual properties.

The Castro government in November 2011 authorized the buying and selling of houses among individuals, one of the most popular measures decreed so far as part of the reforms to update the island's socialist economic model.

The rule put an end to decades of prohibitions or limitations in Cuba on that type of sale, but certain restrictions on such transactions are still in place given that - for instance - Cubans may not own more than one residence in urban areas.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/131105/buying-and-selling-homes-cuba-grew-2-pct-1st-half-2013