Owning Land In New Mexico: Pros & Cons | askBAMLand

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Owning land in New Mexico is a great way to invest for retirement and the future. So what are the pros and cons of owning land in the land of enchantment?

Is buying or owning land in New Mexico a good idea? What are the pros and cons of doing so? What precautions should I take while buying land in the ‘Land of Enchantment’? In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons of owning land in New Mexico and explore the reasons why you should consider doing so. Is owning land in New Mexico a good idea? Yes, it is!

There Are Several Pros Of Doing So Including:

  • Low Land Price And Property Taxes
  • Availability Of Large Tracts Of Land For Ranching
  • Diverse Terrain
  • Low Cost Of Living

Cons Of Living Here Include:

  • High Unemployment
  • A Difficult Climate

In this article, we will take a brief look at the state of New Mexico including climate, terrain, economy, population, and others. We will also explore the pros and cons of living in and owning land in New Mexico. We will provide you with the information you need to make a decision about whether owning land in New Mexico is worthwhile.

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Table of Contents


New Mexico is located in south-western USA, and is one of the four mountain states sharing the southern Rocky Mountains with Utah, Arizona and Colorado. It borders Colorado to the north, Texas and Oklahoma to the east, Arizona to the west and Texas and the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua to the east.  Its capital city Santa Fe is the nation’s oldest and was founded in 1610. The state is renowned for its diverse landscape which includes five ecosystems i.e. deserts and basin, alpine conifer, juniper scrub, plains mesa and riparian habitats.  New Mexico is not known as the Land of Enchantment for nothing. The state consists of four land regions i.e. the basin and range region, Colorado plateau, the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains.

Covering an area of 121,598 square miles, New Mexico is the fifth largest state in the USA. It has 2.1 million residents and is among the states with the lowest population density in the country. This low density is due to a number of reasons including the fact that high unemployment rates have forced people to move in search of work and also due to the fact that the government owns a lot of the state’s land. In spite of all these, New Mexico is a great place to own land, especially if you want to start ranching or engage in large scale farming. Below are a few pros and cons of owning land in New Mexico.

Cheap land

An acre of land costs an average of $6000. This is significantly lower than the average figure for an acre of land in the whole of the USA. In addition, farmland goes for just $570 per acre which is a lot cheaper than the national average of $3,160. The fact that land is so cheap here means that you can easily purchase a large tract for your own use, for speculation purposes and even for farming or ranching. Furthermore, if you are looking to buy a large tract of land measuring 100 acres or more, New Mexico has the cheapest median price.

As with other parts of the country, land and lot prices tend to be higher inside major cities, with Albuquerque and Las Cruces posting the highest land and house prices. The median cost of a house in New Mexico is $246,000 which is significantly lower than the national median of $374,900. However, the median price in Albuquerque was $320,000 which was 18.7% higher than in 2021.

The housing market in many large New Mexico cities is a seller’s one. In Albuquerque, homes received an average of 5 offers upon listing and sold within 12 days. In addition, lot prices range anywhere between $70,000 and $900,000 in size depending on location and size. This means that should you choose to own land in the cities, you could make a pretty penny if you decide to construct houses and sell them or even if you choose to buy and hold for speculative purposes. There is also plenty of farmland available for sale in New Mexico with the average farm going for $ 2,600,000.

Farming and ranching opportunities

If you are looking to venture into farming or ranching, then owning land in New Mexico is one of the best ways to go about it. With sizeable acreage, water access and limited restrictions, New Mexico farms are among the best investments you can make. The average size of farms in the state is 1,640 acres, and there are over 25,000 farms covering 40.6 million acres to be found here.

New Mexico produces a variety of crops including pecans, onions, watermelon, potatoes, corn and green chillies. The state supplies most of the country’s onions in June and is also the country’s largest producer and exporter of green chile peppers. The state’s top agricultural products include: processed vegetables, beef and veal, plant products, tree nuts and dairy. Most of New Mexico’s farmland is found in the Rio Grande river basin and in San Juan County in the four squares region.

Most of New Mexico’s farms are under irrigation and the world’s largest irrigated farm, the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI) is found here. The farm currently covers 70,000 acres and produces corn, wheat, oats, beans and other agricultural products.

Dairy products are New Mexico’s top agricultural performer and in 2021, the industry contributed 40% of the 2.6 billion earned from agricultural produce. Animals raised on ranches in New Mexico include beef and calves, sheep, hogs, and lambs. A significant amount of pasture is also grown here to cater for different types of animals.

Owning land in New Mexico will provide you with the opportunity to farm a wide variety of crops including grains and cereals, cold-weather vegetables, tree nuts, onions and others. You can also venture into ranching and get your share of the pie from the billions of dollars that this sector earns for the New Mexico economy.

Great educational opportunities

New Mexico offers great educational opportunities for learners at every level and is the state with the highest number of doctorate degree holders per capita. The state also offers affordable university education with annual in-campus tuition and fees totaling $6,620 on average. Studying in New Mexico offers great opportunities for learning, job placement, and growth for both local and international students. In addition, most universities here offer a variety of programs including medicine, environmental science, earth science, geology, chemistry and others at an affordable cost.

Low cost of living

With the exception of cities like Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Farmington where living costs tend to be near or slightly above the national average, the rest of New Mexico has a low cost of living. The average cost of living in New Mexico is 91 against a national average of 100. The cost of housing is cheaper here, with the median cost of a home being slightly above $193,000. Rent is also lower than the national median, with the average apartment costing $597 monthly. Food costs are also cheaper here thanks to the abundance of produce, dairy, and other agricultural products from farms and ranches.

Utility costs average about $140 in cities like Albuquerque and include amounts paid for electricity, heating, cooling and garbage collection. Over 90% 90% of workers in New Mexico drive to work, spending around $1,000 on gas annually. Income tax rates range from 1.7% to 4.9% depending on the tax bracket that you are in

Natural beauty

Thanks to its wide variety of landscapes and natural features, New Mexico is a nature lover’s paradise. Featuring landscapes that range from the desert, snow-capped mountains, river basins, and others; the state has something to offer to even the most discriminating of nature enthusiasts. Top natural attractions in New Mexico include; The Carlsbad caves, Bandelier National Monument, ten thousand waves, the White Sands National Monument and many others.

Visitors and residents can also take part in a variety of outdoor activities including hiking and camping, hot air balloons, white water rafting and zip lining, scavenger hunts, and many others. A number of farms in the state also offer farm visits where you can enjoy nut and wine tastings and purchase produce on offer in the farms’ stores.

Great year-round weather

New Mexico has pleasant year-round weather with over 300 days of sunshine annually. The state experiences hot and dry summers and has short, cold and snowy summers. Temperatures range from 27 degrees F in winter to 99 degre F in the middle of summer. They rarely fall below 18 degrees or climb above 99 degrees. The best time to visit and enjoy New Mexico’s weather is btween May and September.

Cons of owning land in New Mexico

While owning land in New Mexico has a number of advantages, there are also several cons that come with living and owning land here. First of all, the state has an extremely high crime rate. It ranks second to New Mexico with regard to violent crime rates, with 7.8 incidences per 1000 people. Even though the crime rate fell from 8.4 to 7.8 incidences per 1000 people in 2021, it is still among the least safe states in the USA. The property crime rate in New Mexico is 28.4, which is about 8 points above the national average.

Another con of living in New Mexico is that property prices are significantly higher than in rural areas, making it difficult for low to middle income earners to access decent housing. Further, 25% of New Mexico’s population lives in Albuquerque, leading to overcrowding and pushing property prices even higher.

New Mexico is extremely susceptible to drought which affects over 70% of ranch and farmlands. Droughts also affect the water sources such as rivers, dams and acequias that facilitate irrigation in the state. As a result, there is greater competition between farmers for water resources and both ranches and farms continue to suffer from this shortage.

Another disadvantage of owning land in New Mexico is that the school system is considered to be among the worst in America. This means that if you bring your children with you to live on your land, you may have to home-school them, send them out of state or look for an alternative way to educate them. There is also an acute shortage of teachers in the state, with one in twenty vacancies remaining unfilled. While the state is taking steps to remedy this situation, it is still serious enough that both high and junior high kids can barely read.

New Mexico has one of the lowest minimum wages in the country and has remained stuck at $9 for a number of years. While the rate is set to increase to $12 by 2023, it still means that workers are unable to pay all their bills. Another disadvantage that ties in closely with low minimum wage is a high unemployment rate. At 5.9%, the state’s unemployment rate is among the highest in the country and a full two points ahead of the national average.


In summary, owning land in New Mexico is a great way to hold on to a property for speculative purposes, have some land for agriculture and farming or simply own property that you can build your retirement home on. Some of the pros of owning land in New Mexico include; the availability of plenty of land for farming and ranching, low cost of living, and great natural beauty.

Some of the cons of buying land here include; a high crime rate, low minimum wage, and a struggling school system. However, the pros far outweigh the cons and you should definitely look into buying and owning land in New Mexico.


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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