15 Best Places to Live in New Mexico

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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New Mexico is one of the most geographically diverse of the fifty American states. It seems this southerly state really does have it all; buzzing metropolitan cities, quaint rural villages, the Chihuahuan Desert, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains…the list just goes on and on.

Did you know that New Mexico has an official state tree? The Pinyon Pine crops up wherever you go, a true symbol of the state. The pinyon nut is a tasty and nutritious snack; sprinkle on your salad for a bit more texture.

Why are we talking about salads?! Back to business, New Mexico is a highly desirable state to reside in. With a diverse and hard working population of 2-million people, there is a strong Latino community here.

Whenever it comes to choosing a place to live there are a few factors that we should all take into account, whether you’ve realised it or not, you’re concerned with crime statistics, standard of public schools and median house prices. Right?

Finding all this information in one bite-sized chunk is pretty hard, fear not, we’ve done the hard graft for you!

Here are our 15 best places to live in New Mexico;

1. Los Alamos

Los AlamosSource: Ron Cogswell / Flickr
Los Alamos

Skiers, snowboarders, and mountain bikers, gather round. You will be delighted to hear that the best place to live in New Mexico is Los Alamos, nestled beneath the foothills of the Pajarito Mountain’ the Jemez Mountain Range.

This 11,000-strong community of New Mexicans just adore living here in Los Alamos and who can blame them. Idealistic cost of living, countless opportunities to get outdoors and get fit with the added benefit of all the facilities and amenities you would expect from living in a city.

What’s not to love? According to local people, very, very little. With median household income being $98,000 a year, the residents of Los Alamos work hard for the life they have here and appreciate every single second of it.

2. White Rock

White Rock, New MexicoSource: Chyeburashka at English Wikipedia / Wikimedia
White Rock

The beauty of New Mexico can be truly appreciated in small towns like White Rock. With only 6,000 people who call this humble suburb home, White Rock is a safe and happy place to life. In this day and age it is a privilege to be able to describe a place as happy!

With happiness in mind, White Rock is considered to be the best place to raise a family in New Mexico. Living here does come at a cost however; being such a wonderful place to live comes with a less than wonderful price tag.

Median home value is $268,000. In reality, investors seldom get change from $350,000 but there is room for negotiation if you haggle hard enough.

3. Sandia Heights

Sandia HeightsSource: www.youtube.com
Sandia Heights

As a suburb of Albuquerque, Sandia Heights is very popular with commuters. That said, provision of public transport in this small neighbourhood is near non-existent; but given that median household income is $102,000 a year most residents are two-car families. A daily drive into the CDB is a small price to pay in order to call this safe and cosy suburb home.

With a resident population of 3,300 people and 35 excellent public schools in the area, there is much for parents to love about Sandia Heights.

Median rent here is pretty steep at $1,194 per month. As would be expected the median home value is high too, try $416,000 kinda high. With the median rent right up there you will not be surprised to learn that 91% of residents live in owned homes.

4. Eldorado at Santa Fe

Eldorado at Santa FeSource: amadeustx / shutterstock
Eldorado At Santa Fe

In Santa Fe County, New Mexico we find the census-designated settlement of Eldorado. The relaxed pace of life is what first draws people to Eldorado, there is a large community of retirees here.

Only 10% of the 6,400 residents are children. Despite this low number of youngsters there are 11 public schools in the Eldorado area offering young people a solid start in life.

Properties in Eldorado may only come on the market once in a blue moon making the quality of build and value for money highly sought after here. An impressive 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom detached family home fetches $319,000. When you take into consideration the generous plot of land that comes as part of the deal, you come to realise that Eldorado’s above average house prices have occurred with good reason.

5. Corrales

Corrales MapSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock

One of many villages in Sandoval County, Corrales is a community that thrives on agricultural income. The success of this small settlement is largely due to its proximity to the Rio Grande River that hydrates the otherwise desert-like lands.

Crime in Corrales is consistently low which provides long-standing and new residents alike with ample peace of mind. This is, in part, due to the strong community orientated attitude adopted by residents. Throughout the year there are a number of festivals that see the community join together to share and enjoy life in New Mexico.

The 45 public schools in Corrale are excelling. The top five schools can all offer their students an A-rated education programme which goes a long way when applying for university down the line.

6. Mesilla

Mesilla MapSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock

This small town in Doña Ana County narrowly misses out on a spot in the top five best places to live in New Mexico. We’re sure the cosy population of 2,400 people won’t mind too much for they keep themselves to themselves.

For those seeking a rental property, Mesilla is the first of our named places so far that offers monthly rents below the national average. At $753 per month, on average, renting in Mesilla is a sensible move, for median home value is a punchy $255,000.

Mesilla is ranked as the second safest place to live in New Mexico. Local people are quick to inform new comers that crime is seldom an issue here in this suburb of Las Cruces.

7. Rio Rancho

Rio RanchoSource: Bernie Goldbach / Flickr
Rio Rancho

Rio Rancho is home to 91,800 people, nearly 5% of New Mexico’s entire population! With so many people residing in the area, suitable investment has been made in infrastructure and amenities. Restaurants like Indigo Crow Cafe and Heaven Dragon are popular with local people and there is a strong social scene developing in Rio Rancho.

For parents seeking excellent schooling for their children there is very little to complain about in Rio Rancho, from elementary level through to high school, this suburb is home to some of the best schools in the state.

Average property prices in Rio Rancho may seem dear at first glance but the value for money is outstanding. An investment of $189,000 would see you acquire a two-storey 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom family home.

8. Paradise Hills

Paradise HillsSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock
Paradise Hills

Paradise by name and paradise by nature? Maybe so. Paradise by price? Maybe not. The cost of living in Paradise Hills is far greater than areas like Mesilla but there is still a lot to love about this Bernalillo County suburb.

The fact at the Piedras Marcadas Canyon is right on the doorstep is a major bonus point next to Paradise Hills’ name. This cosy community is made up of 4,700 residents who are more than satisfied with their lives here.

Paradise Hills has been marked as the most popular place in New Mexico for millennials. Not only can we expect the population to boom over the next decade but amenities and infrastructure too. Will it still be paradise then? Only time will tell.

9. Albuquerque

AlbuquerqueSource: Joseph Sohm / shutterstock

Although not the state capital, Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, home to half a million people and can be found in the High Desert.

As you would expect from such a large city, joblessness is hardly an issue; work opportunities are a plenty and the cost of living agreeable. Sadly though, being a major city the crime statistics are less than ideal. With local people describing the city as the ‘land of enchantment’ suffice to say that they skim over these issues; perhaps we should too.

As far as major cities go, property in Albuquerque is seriously affordable. Average house prices are on the $185,000 mark with monthly rent hovering at $799.

10. Los Ranchos de Albuquerque

Los Ranchos de AlbuquerqueSource: frank drewett / Flickr
Los Ranchos De Albuquerque

This northern suburb of Albuquerque is locally referred to simply as Los Ranchos, or The Village, and can be found in Bernalillo County.

Unlike Albuquerque CBD, house prices here are a little more ambitious; averaging at $376,000. With that in mind, the news that the median household income is $62,000 will cause you little surprise. This is a more affluent and highly educated suburb of Albuquerque; 21% of residents have a master’s degree or higher.

The homes in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque are charming and cute on the outside and spacious yet functional on the inside. Many properties on the market are waiting to be moved into and require little to no renovations.

11. Las Cruces

Las CrucesSource: dherrera_96 / Flickr
Las Cruces

With there being a nearly 50/50 split of residents living in owned homes and rented, there is a suitably diverse community of residents in Las Cruces. Much like Albuquerque CDB, cost of living in Las Cruces is ideal; $743 a month for rental properties and $148,000 for entire homes, on average.

Proximity to the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument and the Robledo Mountains are a serious draw for Las Cruces. This is by no means an affluent city, the average household earns just $41,000 a year; that’s $12,000 less than the national average.

Despite this the residents of Las Cruces are happy and content in their home here. A good range of public schools keeps parents happy, outdoor activities and entertainment facilities keep youngsters amused and an improving employment climate is keeping the workforce satisfied.

12. North Valley

north valley albuquerqueSource: welcomehomeabq.com
North Valley

North of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque is the suburb of North Valley, home to 11,221 people. Although there are some pricey properties on the market there are some greatly affordable family homes available here in North Valley. A reasonable investment of $140,000 would see you be the proud owner of a simple but ample abode with 3-bedrooms and 2-bathrooms.

North Valley is a popular place to raise a family and with 42 public schools to choose form, parents can move in knowing that there is a future for their children rooted in this neighbourhood.

There is a diverse community of people who call North Valley home. Average household income is $45,000 a year; this is a suburb of hardworking people who are striving to keep their family happy and healthy.

13. Santa Fe

Santa Fe, NMSource: Frank Romeo / shutterstock
Santa Fe

Described as an artistic and creative city; home to 83,000 people there is plenty going on in the city of Santa Fe. This is an expensive city to live in compared to Albuquerque, for example. Median home value is a steep $259,000 which is high for New Mexico and given the slow job climate, you should have work secured before settling in Santa Fe.

Being a large city, Santa Fe has a diverse population both in terms of ethnic background and economic standing. Local people love the architecture and the progressive nature of the city. The economy is strengthening here in Santa Fe, perhaps in a few years time it will have crept into the top ten best places to live in New Mexico.

14. Edgewood

EdgewoodSource: sevenMaps7 / shutterstock

In Santa Fe County is the town of Edgewood, with a residential population of 3,773, the town limits have expanded into Bernalillo and Torrance Counties too.

Despite its rural aesthetic, Edgewood is a growing town and is not far from jumping from a countryside feel to a suburban atmosphere. This is not necessarily a bad thing, what comes with town expansion? Better facilities and improved infrastructure. Factors that would be of real benefit to Edgewood.

Edgewood is one of the safest places to live in New Mexico; it is the occasional theft or burglary that created Edgewood’s crime rating to begin with and there are few other incidents aside from these.

Edgewood is certainly a more affluent area of New Mexico; median home value is $200,000 and annual household income is $57,300.

15. La Huerta

La HuertaSource: wikipedia
La Huerta

Formerly known as Carlsbad North, La Huerta is called home by a close knit population of 1,100 people. Close knit they may be, they’re comparatively affluent too. With an average annual income of $84,900, there is a community of successful career people here in La Huerta.

House prices are much steeper than in other parts of New Mexico but with median rent at $634 there are options here for those who are looking to rent. You’ll have to snap rentals up as soon as they appear though as only 18% of people live in rented accommodation.


Eldorado At Santa Fe

15 Best Places to Live in New Mexico:

  • Los Alamos
  • White Rock
  • Sandia Heights
  • Eldorado at Santa Fe
  • Corrales
  • Mesilla
  • Rio Rancho
  • Paradise Hills
  • Albuquerque
  • Los Ranchos de Albuquerque
  • Las Cruces
  • North Valley
  • Santa Fe
  • Edgewood
  • La Huerta