When should you think about moving to Mars?
A Data Ventures production.
From our findings above, you’ll see that it would be no small feat to rehouse to our red galactic neighbour, but it would certainly be more affordable in the long run. So to help you out, we’ve taken the liberty of collecting all the costs you’ll need to consider before making the big move. And with the way the current housing crisis is going … you can thank us later.
Luckily, there’s a “very legit” website — Buy Mars  — that’ll sell you an acre of Mars land for just $42 NZ ($29.95 US). According to Auckland Council in 2020, a residential-sized section in Auckland with no infrastructure or amenities would cost $132,665 . That’s over 3000 times as much as on Mars.
Mars is a long way away . In 2016, Elon Musk reckoned that with current technology, it would cost 10 billion USD ($14B NZ) to go to Mars . But he also said that it should ‘eventually’ only cost a couple of hundred thousand USD, so roughly $300k NZ per person.
The median household size in New Zealand is 2.7 people , so gather $810,000 and the other 1.7 members of your household and buy your tickets.
Taking materials with you will be difficult, so you’ll want to use the natural resources (dirt, dirt, and more dirt) as much as possible. You’re probably looking at an earthbag-style house with domed roofs.
In 2019, the median floor area for a new home in New Zealand was 148sqm . Estimates online for the cost of materials for earthbag houses seem to range between $6 US/sqft and $30 US/sqft, depending on whether things like plumbing are included.
Apparently, earthbag homes are the cheapest to build in rural areas without building codes. Mars fits that description pretty well, so let’s take a middling estimate of $18 US/sqft, or $240 NZ/sqm.
For a 148sqm house, that’s $35,520 in materials.
Hopefully, some of your fellow Martians will know how to build and already have some basic tools handy.
This article  from 1971 says it takes 1337 man-hours to build a single-family home. We’ll make the convenient assumption that this still holds for a Mars house in 2050.
Builders in New Zealand in 2019 generally made between 19 and 40 dollars an hour . This is all happening on Mars, so let’s say they’ll make about $40 an hour. All up, that’s $53,480 for labour.
For power, consider a solar power system. Mars gets less sun than Earth, so you should play it safe and get a pretty hefty system with lots of panels. According to My Solar Quotes NZ , you might be looking at around $50,000 NZ, assuming you can find someone to help you install it.
You’ll probably have a decent luggage allowance, but you’ll definitely need extra for the solar power system, materials, and any furniture you want to bring. Musk gave an estimate of $140,000 US per ton . Three extra tons will run you $420,000 US, or $580,000 NZ.
Finally, you’ll need to find a nice Mars hotel to stay in while your home is under construction. As for water, melt some Mars ice and hope for the best.
TOTAL COST (in today’s dollars)
Building materials: $35,520
Off-grid power setup: $50,000
Total cost: $1,529,042 (2021 dollars)
In New Zealand, the median house price (as of March 2021) was $826,300 .
According to the QV house price index , house prices increased by 18.2% in the year ending March 2021. Adjusted for CPI inflation at 1.5% in the same period , this is an increase of about 16.5%. If prices continue to rise at the same rate, by 2050, that means the median house price could be the equivalent of $69,277,082 in today’s dollars.
In other words, by 2050, it’ll be 45 times cheaper to build your home on Mars than to buy a home in New Zealand! No need to give up your avocado toast, homeowners of the future — the red planet is waiting for you.
Elon Musk may not be a reliable source.
Buying land on Mars may be illegal.
House will be unfurnished.
There is a high risk of death.