Choosing your next home is a matter of weighing pros and cons. Considering job opportunities, schooling choices, safety, neighborhood values, entertainment, and so many other factors, you might feel the burden of choice weigh heavily. Fear not, as help is always available. This simple breakdown of the cost of living in New Mexico will show you what to expect in every major region of the state. Knowing how far you can push your paychecks will help you evaluate each area and settle into a comfortable lifestyle that makes the most of the many perks New Mexico has to offer.

How Expensive Is Albuquerque?


cost of living in New Mexico

Much of New Mexico enjoys low cost of living, but this is less so in Albuquerque. The combined cost of living in the city is in the $50,000 - $60,000 a year range, costing six percent more than average for the nation. The majority of cost comes to housing, which is an average of almost $20,000 a year. Transportation costs around $10,000 a year and accounts for 16 percent of annual expenses.


Overall, the cost of living in Albuquerque is rated as one percent higher than the national average but four percent lower than the national average for urban areas. Health care is one percent above the nation as well. Groceries, utilities, and transportation are all a few points below norm. Miscellaneous expenses in the city run two percent above average.


Is Santa Fe as Expensive as They Say?


The cost of living is rated as higher than average for the rest of the country, but an itemized breakdown is more revealing. Food, health, utility, and transportation bills are all marginally lower than most of the country. Excluding the housing cost, Santa Fe’s average comes to three percent below norm. With the housing prices factored in, costs soar to 20 percent above average.


Even the escalated housing cost is not a straightforward measurement. Santa Fe is home to the majority of New Mexico’s most expensive houses, which raises average and median costs by a large margin. That said, the cost per square foot is on par with national averages, suggesting that the cost of living in Santa Fe is much less than the numbers represent, unless you purchase a high-end home.


How Does Farmington Compare?

cost of living in New Mexico

Farmington is one of the fastest growing regions in New Mexico. Low unemployment and surging opportunities make it appealing to a wide range of prospectors. As far as cost of living, it is the most expensive region. A closer inspection of the numbers is illuminating.


Farmington is one of the only places in New Mexico where average income is greater than the national totals. While the difference is only 1.5 percent, it leads Farmington to be an economical outlier. The city’s residents enjoy more wealth, and the cost of living reflects that. A number of factors are more expensive in Farmington, including housing, healthcare, and miscellaneous costs. Utilities are less expensive than most of the country, while food and transportation costs sit right at average. Housing cost is nine percent above regular, accounting for the largest area of inflated costs. These factors combine to produce a cost of living that is three percent higher than nationwide comparisons and only slightly higher than the overall New Mexico cost rates.


How Are Things in the South?


Cost analysis of Las Cruces paint a very different picture from the regions listed so far. Overall prices are much lower than both national and state averages. Food costs are fairly normal, but healthcare is substantially less expensive than the rest of the country. Housing is almost 20 percent less expensive than the other regions on the list, and that includes a large swath of upscale homes. Transportation and utility costs are less significant, but they are still well below average. Food costs are three percent above average, but when you combine all of the factors, expenses are seven percent lower in Las Cruces than the rest of the nation. This makes the city a particularly attractive place to move for retirees and professionals with established careers.


What About the State as a Whole?

cost of living in New Mexico

The state averages play out very similarly to each of the regions discussed so far. This shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that Albuquerque accounts for roughly 25 percent of the state’s population. The overall combined cost rating for New Mexico is 101 percent the national average, or one percent above normal. As always, you can expect the itemized breakdown to tell a more complete story.


There are only two pricing categories in New Mexico that are higher than average. Housing is rated at 106 percent, and miscellaneous costs are 101 percent. Groceries, healthcare, utilities, and transportation are rated at 98, 97, 96, and 97 percent respectively. Once again, housing prices account for roughly all of inflated costs, raising the average on an otherwise inexpensive place to live. The high housing rates are mostly concentrated in the northern half of the state, with the largest outliers being Santa Fe and Taos.

No matter where you are looking in New Mexico, cost of living is in your favor. Even when the on-paper costs look high, like in Santa Fe and Farmington, the majority of those expenses are related to housing. Taking advantage of good resources can help you find an affordable, high-quality home that will eliminate most of your expected expenses. With that settled you can look to enjoy affordable healthcare and education, while soaking in the rich culture, overwhelmingly beautiful weather, expansive views, and world-class food.