An American who has been selling properties on the moon since 1980 claims lunar real estate is a great investment. Oddly enough, 5.7 million people have agreed with him, purchasing up to 200 of his properties a day. 

Dennis Hope, who is due to be profiled in a Times interview this weekend, said he saw the opportunity to sell property on the moon after considering the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. 

The treaty, which is the basis for international space law, has no explicit restrictions on individuals owning satellite bodies beyond Earth. 

Struggling for money after a divorce, Hope filed a declaration of ownership with the United Nations. After failing to receive any ‘legal problems’ with his claim, he launched a brokerage to sell lunar real estate. 

Since then he has sold roughly 600 million acres on the moon, charging US$24 a property. Buyers have hailed from 193 countries, numbering around 5.7 million people. 

Many of the sales have become gifts, others were purchased for novelty value, Hope said. 

"Even if you own land on the moon, there's the opportunity to think, 'Maybe someday. Maybe I won't make it, maybe my kids won't make it, but maybe my grandkids will be able to go up there and utilize the property.'" 

He added that he now has plans for a "lunar embassy", which will have embassies for every government on Earth and some additional governments too. It will include “some of the non-Earth based governments that we are in touch with occasionally, which I can’t speak about too much, but they are here, and they are in existence, and they have embassies there as well,” Hope said. 

In the Times documentary, written and directed by filmmaker Simon Ennis, Hope also reveals that he believes he is an honest businessman. 

“This is as real as any properties you can buy on earth,” he said. "I've been called a crook, a fraud, a scam artist. I've never seen myself that way at all. And it's not that I'm the brightest person in the block or anything like that, it's just that I had an idea, and I've followed through for the last 30 years."