By Daniel Benitez (Cafe Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES — Housing construction in Cuba has fallen for the tenth consecutive year in a row, adding to the further decline in a country with great housing shortages.
A recent offcial Office for National Statistics (ONEI) report states that only 22,106 properties were built in Cuba last year (this includes apartments and/or houses), the lowest figure of since 2006, when over 111,000 homes were completed.
However, what’s most revealing of these statistics is the fact that out of the total number of these completed homes, only 41.9% (9,257) were built by state-owned construction companies, while the majority (12,849) were built by private individuals.
The report doesn’t specify how many of these homes were completed with subsidies that the state offers people, nor what the main materials of these dwellings are.
It was in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, with a highly deteriorated housing stock, that the largest number of homes were built last year, 3,301 to be exact, followed by the 2,533 homes that were built in Havana, the province with the largest housing shortage in the country.
Less building materials
National production of several building materials have also fallen compared to 2015, especially rebar, prefab concrete slabs, gravel and cement.
The fall in housing construction comes in spite of the government’s huge efforts to push forward domestic building projects and to make measures more flexible allowing the transfer and sale and purchase of property, subsidies and the state allocation of homes to people in need.
Cuba’s housing stock is extremely damaged because of several factors, among them being decades of neglect with little or no maintenance, the red tape in the authorization process that allows you to make partial and general repairs to your home, as well as mistaken state policies and the effects of large-scale natural phenomena, mainly hurricanes.
The general housing shortage in Cuba is estimated to stand at over 700,000 homes. There are 3.7 million homes in Cuba, but almost 40% of these are in poor condition.
Housing Construction in Cuba (2000-2016)
2000 – 42,940
2001 – 35,805
2002 – 27,460
2003 – 15,590
2004 – 15,352
2005 – 39,919
2006 – 111,373
2007 – 52,607
2008 – 44,775
2009 – 35,085
2010 – 33,901
2011 – 32,540
2012 – 32,103
2013 – 25,634
2014 – 25,037
2015 – 23,003
2016 – 22,106