Cuba approves 99 year leases for foreign property investors

Foreign real estate investors are being granted leases on government land for up to 99 years in a move that could see a raft of luxury villas, holidays homes and golf courses being built.

Developers have been urging the Cuban government to open up to foreign investment and more and more tourists are arriving on the Caribbean island.
A new law published last week loosened property rules to allow 99 year leases for foreigners as part of a package of measures introduced by President Raul Castro to scale back the state’s near total dominance of the economy while attempting to generate new revenue for a government short on cash.
One developer, Canadian based Leisure Canada, is pleased by the move. It wants to build hotels, villas and two golf courses on a beach in Jibocoa, 40 miles east of the capital Havana.
Cuba already allowed leases of state land for up to 50 years with the option to extend them for an additional 25, but foreign investors had long pressed tourism officials to endorse the 99 year lease as norm to attract more investors.
The longer leases also mean lower interest rates on international banking mortgages, making it easier for foreign investors to get loans to buy property.
Leisure hopes to begin construction on a luxury hotel in the Havana neighborhood of Miramar next year with the project at Jibacoa and another plan for development on Cayo Largo, a cay off Cuba’s southern coast, in the pipeline.
There are said to be a large number of real estate investors in Canada, Europe and Asia who want to cash in on the growing number of tourists visiting Cuba. They also hope that in the future relations between the island and the US will thaw, although both developers and buyers from the US to invest.
Developers are also keen to cash in on the demand for golf and a number of lavish 18 hole international standard golf courses are likely. The tourism Ministry says it would like to build 10 more.
British owned Esencia Hotels and Resorts has been at the forefront of real estate development in Cuba and has plans for a $300 million Carbonera Country Club, outside Varadero with a golf course, 800 luxury apartments and 100 vi