Ya viene otra crisis. Analyzing Havana’s housing market in the time of Covid-19

Authors: Violaine Jolivet*, Université de Montréal
Topics: Urban Geography, Immigration/Transnationalism, Digital Geographies
Keywords: Havana, housing market, Transnational urbanism, Centrality, Datamining Maps
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 29
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper presents an analysis of the formation of a real-estate market in Cuba and more specifically in Havana, which accounts for approximately 80% of the island's housing transactions. Since the reintroduction of the right for Cubans to buy and sell their property in 2011, housing has become an extremely interesting object of research to understand the economic transformations at stake in the socialist island. Although the financialization of the Cuban real-estate market is still in its infancy, housing has become one of the cornerstones of transnational investments and a lever for private sector growth over the last ten years. We present some of the results of a wider project titled (Re)investing Havana, which is based on a mixed-method approach linking a quantitative analysis of Havana's market prices, as well as qualitative methods based on observation and interviews in 4 central districts. The data mining done on real estate agency websites and Cuban sales platforms since 2015 helps us to map prices and identify “hot spots”, despite the weakness of the information available on housing prices and real estate transactions. It also permits us to have a spatiotemporal approach of the market in several neighborhoods which allows us to interrogate on the impact of Covid-19. Our main research questions in this paper will be: How does the economic slowdown, induced by Covid-19, affect the housing market in Havana? and to what extent is it affecting flows of capital which have been crucial for the market making ?

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