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If you've never stayed up all night watching for aliens in Roswell or had a snowball fight in Angel Fire, then you've not experienced what the good people of New Mexico already know; they have some of the most affordable fun in the country.
However, you're going to need a little more than affordable fun if you're looking to move your life to New Mexico on a budget. You're going to need a good job and a guide to navigate New Mexico's cost of living. And this is where it gets tricky, folks. New Mexico's unemployment rate is above the national average, but its cost of living is below. So, we recommend while your waiting on the job, you do your homework on where the cheapest New Mexico places are located. More importantly, you should take a look below at HomeSnacks top ten most affordable New Mexico places for 2021.
The competition was fierce to say the least. Many of New Mexico's most affordable places boast great home prices and safe neighborhoods. Any one of these places would be a great place to enjoy life while saving money. If you choose one of New Mexico's most affordable places, you're going to free up cash for the fun "New Mexico'' things to do and see. Like, scoring tickets to Santa Fe's New Mexico Music Fan Fare or taking a road trip to Taos.
So, want to know where the cheapest places in New Mexico are to live? Read on.
How did we determine the cheapest places in New Mexico? We consulted the US Census and New Mexico's current cost of living.
What's the cheapest place to live in New Mexico? We're pretty sure there isn't a bad place to park your alien mobile in the Land of Enchantment, but there can only be one number one most affordable for 2021, and that would be Grants.
To see how your favorite place compared, take a look at the list below or head to the bottom.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about New Mexico and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In New Mexico For 2021
Located some 75 miles west down Route 66 from Albuquerque, Grants ranks as the most affordable place to call home in New Mexico. We already named Grants as one of the best cities for families in New Mexico, so finding out it's also the most affordable place to live is like winning the lottery.
Grants is known as the Uranium Capital of the World, which you can learn more about at the world's only simulated uranium mining museum. Outdoorsy folks will always have something to do for free in Grants as well, between the hikes around El Malpais National Monument or the wonderfully strange Ice Cave & Bandera Volcano.
The overall cost of living in Grants is 19% below the national average, but in terms of housing, the city is even cheaper than that. The median home price in Grants is $101,900, the fourth cheapest in New Mexico.
The median household income in Grants is $41,475, make it even easier to afford the finer things in life. If you want to give Grants a try without committing to a mortgage, the median rent here is a very reasonable $686.
If you love paying low prices for great quality, then you'll love Lovington, the most affordable place to live in New Mexico for 2021. Lovington has the 11th cheapest homes for sale statewide, with a median price of $116,800. Even better, thanks to a median income of $51,620, Lovington residents pay the second smallest proportion of their salary on income anywhere in New Mexico.
As a bonus, Lovington is one of the best cities for singles in New Mexico, which seems fitting for a place with a name like "Lovington."
Lovington is located in southeastern New Mexico.
Carlsbad ranks as the third cheapest city in New Mexico overall, despite having some of the highest home prices on this list at $141,300. How'd Carlsbad achieve a #3 spot on this list with such pricey homes? Well, we look at the whole picture, and seeing as Carlsbad is one of the richest places in New Mexico, with a median income of $69,193, residents are well able to afford slightly more expensive housing. In fact, Carlsbad has the best home price to income ratio in New Mexico. And with a median rent of $1,012, Carlsbad is also in the top five statewide for income to rent ratio.
Carlsbad is home to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, a must-see natural wonder in southeastern New Mexico
The population of Hobbs has been increasing at a rapid rate in recent years, and it's not hard to tell why. A solid market for jobs and homes, short commutes, and awesome stuff to do like the Cowboy Hall of Fame all make Hobbs a great place to live.
Having all that at the fourth lowest overall prices statewide is just icing on the cake. Residents of Hobbs pay the third smallest percentage of their income on homes across New Mexico, with a median home price of $140,600 and a median income of $59,020. It's also the fifth most affordable place to rent in New Mexico, so the choice between buying and renting has no bad option.
Roswell is the well-known for being the crash site of an alleged UFO in 1947, but the fifth biggest city in New Mexico has a lot more going on than conspiracy theories about aliens. Like being the fourth most affordable place to buy a home in the state, with a median home price of $105,100.
Slightly less affordable rent keeps Roswell from a spot in the top three, however. In any case, know that if you have no interest in learning about UFOs, Roswell has plenty of natural beauty around to keep you occupied.
Gallup ranks as the sixth cheapest place to live in New Mexico thanks to being an equally great place for renters and buyers. Gallup is the most diverse city in New Mexico with a 40% Native American population, including representatives from the Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi tribes. It's also the place where residents pay the eighth lowest percentage of their income on housing, for both renting and buying. That's with a median home price of $132,000 and a median rent of $735.
And don't worry about being bored here; between the Chaco Culture National Park, the Navajo Code Talkers Museum, Red Rock Park, and Zuni Pueblo, there's plenty of things to do in Gallup.
We're going to take a long drive up to northwestern New Mexico to arrive at the state's seventh cheapest city, Bloomfield. While Bloomfield does have the most expensive homes on this list at $149,200, a high median income of $52,030 allows Bloomfield to be the 11th most affordable place in New Mexico for home-buyers. And with a median rent of $760, Bloomfield residents pay the third lowest proportion of their income on rent statewide.
If you feel like rising above the fray of financial worry, definitely stop at Angel Peak for some divine views. Bloomfield is also located along the Trail of the Ancients, so you really don't even need to leave your car to get top-notch scenery.
Alamogordo is no stranger to the Homesnacks spotlight. We featured it as one of the best places to live in New Mexico. Good amenities, short commutes, safe streets, and a diverse community all make Alamogordo an attractive place to live. Having all those things without breaking the bank really just seals the deal. With a median home price of $113,500 and a median income of $42,204, Alamogordo enjoys the sixth best home price to income ratio in New Mexico.
Located near the Colorado border in the northeastern part of the state, Raton ranks as the ninth least expensive place in New Mexico. Raton has the second cheapest rent on this list, with a median price of $723/month. But that's not why it makes the cut -- they can thank having the lowest home prices in New Mexico for their inclusion here.
If you're looking for cheap things to do in Raton, definitely visit Sugarite Canyon State Park for high-quality fishing, hiking, boating, hunting, and camping. Raton is also among the safest cities in New Mexico, so don't worry that you're trading security for affordability.
If you're looking for a high quality of life with a low cost of living, look no further than Socorro, a city of 8,460 located 75 miles south of Albuquerque. Socorro has a super low unemployment rate of just 2.19% and a median household income of $41,271.
If you're an outdoorsman or woman, you'll have no trouble keeping yourself entertained on a budget in Socorro. The area offers some of the best bird-watching in the country at places like the Bosque National Wildlife Refuge. And if you have an eye for beauty, then you'll also love having so many local art galleries in the vicinity.
Socorro offers the sixth cheapest median rent in New Mexico at $636. If you decide you like Socorro enough to make it your forever home, the median home price here is $135,600.
In addition to cheap housing, Socorro has a low cost of living all-around - that means things like groceries, utilities, and services are all cheaper in Socorro than your typical American city.
How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Land of Enchantment For 2021
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- How much do I have spend to live there?
You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.
For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.
With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2015-2019 around incomes and costs. They are:
- Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
- Median Home Price
We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).
You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in New Mexico to figure out which is the least expensive.
What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.
So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 33 places in New Mexico that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in New Mexico according to the data is Grants. You can download the data here.
There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. New Mexico Cheapskate
If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in New Mexico, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in New Mexico for 2021.
Here's a look at the most expensive cities in New Mexico according to the data:
- Santa Fe
- Las Vegas
For more New Mexico reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In New Mexico
- Richest Cities In New Mexico
- Best Places To Raise A Family In New Mexico
The Most Affordable Places To Live In New Mexico
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