This paper is about the permuta, which is the only legal instrument created by the Cuban authorities to facilitate land and housing exchanges. Beyond that fact, the permuta has sociological and economical significance as being the escape valve for the people in their resistance to being standard people in standard housing,i as it reflects the increasing demand of families for more diversified dwelling options. In the absence of a formal real estate market, the permuta has proved very effective in incorporating hidden and informal valuations and transactions in housing, where monetary interests are increasingly appearing as an important feature. Over the last decades, the number of arrangements and agreements between the parties, and the complexity of the negotiations has increased. The transactions within the permuta now incorporate new aspects that anticipate future value increments and other benefits and profits from the development of home based businesses, or that anticipate positive impacts derived from public investments or new urban regulations. The study of the permuta is therefore very attractive for urban planners and economists. But the study is also difficult for various reasons: it is very vulnerable to legal and institutional changes, it has a dual (legal and illegal) connotation, it has a large capacity to mutate and camouflage in order to evade restrictions, and there are no trustworthy records of the informal transactions.