HAVANA – A baffling real estate market has emerged in Cuba in the year and a half since President Raul Castro legalized private home sales on the Communist-run island for the first time in five decades.
While trade in homes is now legal, the people who bring buyers together with sellers are not. The government has not legitimized brokers, most of whom still operate in the shadows.
It's a story typical of Castro's economic reforms, which often have little space for middlemen and other services that help markets work.
Castro has legalized a used car market, but not the right to open a business that sells them. And despite an explosion of private restaurants and cafes across Cuba, the government hasn't given them access to wholesaler suppliers.