To build a house in Mexico, first, you have to get a piece of land.
Buying a piece of land in Mexico City can vary a lot depending on the area. The area where we work is called Polanco, one of the high-income residential areas of DF. In Polanco, the price of property (including land and construction) is generally around $3200 USD per square meter, but in some selected areas it can be over $6000 USD per square meter. A square meter is roughly ten square feet (and we can´t resist pointing out that foreigners will not be able to avoid learning the metric system!). Polanco is very expensive, similar to Manhattan in New York, but it is possible to find areas of Mexico City that are much less expensive.
In general, if you decide to build a house outside of Mexico City it is much less expensive, with the exception of two other big cities, Guadalajara and Monterey. Building a house in Guadalajara and Monterey will cost around 20% to 25% less than building in Mexico City. If you are building in the rest of the country, it could be 50% less or even lower than the cost of building in Mexico City.
In general, if you were to build a small home of about 200 square meters in Polanco, Mexico City, it would cost around $200,000 to $500,000 USD just for the building. The land could cost $650,000 USD, easily. Because of the high cost of land, and also because it is difficult to find land in this area of the city, most people do not build but rather prefer to buy an apartment in an existing building. Like Manhattan, this is more of an apartment area than a single family home area.
The price for an apartment in Polanco can vary between $400,000 to well over $2 million USD. For $500,000, you would get a small apartment of about 100 square meters (a little over 1,000 square feet) with one to two bedrooms.
(Apartment in Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico, pictured.)