What Is the Real Cost of Living in Santa Fe?

What Is the Real Cost of Living in Santa Fe?

  • Ricky Allen, Cathy Griffith & Tara Earley
  • 07/10/23

With its natural beauty and thriving cultural dynamic, Santa Fe is one of the Sun Belt’s most sought-after cities. If you hope to relocate to America’s oldest capital city, you’ll want to understand its costs.

Over 400 years of history, Spanish-era historical buildings, topographical beauty, and hundreds of artistic venues have helped Santa Fe become one of America’s best destinations. While retirees have sought out this charming city as a landing spot for years, more families and young professionals are settling in Santa Fe today. Santa Fe gives outdoor enthusiasts access to excellent hiking and skiing, while those hoping to explore the city’s unique cultural roots and arts scene will always have something to do.

If you are among those interested in moving here, prepare your budget for a higher cost of living. Read on to better understand the actual cost of living in Santa Fe. 

Look at home purchase prices in the area

Santa Fe is decidedly a seller’s market, with higher home prices than just a year ago. Consequently, buyers coming from areas with a lower cost of living should prepare for sticker shock as they navigate the Santa Fe real estate market. Whether looking for a modest one-bedroom home or a palatial estate, you can expect to pay more for Santa Fe homes for sale. For example, those in the market for a luxury five-bedroom home will see a median sold price that is significantly higher than last year.

Complicating factors, such as a low housing inventory, have only added to the seller’s market. Fewer homes were listed than a year ago. This means buyers must act quickly to secure a home they love. Before entering the market, buyers should be pre-approved by a mortgage lender and hire an experienced real estate agent to help them make a competitive offer.

Consider the average salary of residents

Residents in Santa Fe will need to account for mortgage payments, utilities, transportation, and other normal monthly costs. Given the area’s amenities, however, residents should also plan on budgeting more for food and recreational activities.

The median household income in Santa Fe is just under $62,000, and the median price of a home is $312,300. As you determine a budget to live comfortably in Santa Fe, weigh how much you want to save toward retirement, college funds, and other long-term investments. You should factor in other costs connected to Santa Fe’s prime location, such as day trips to other New Mexico attractions or visits to the city’s award-winning restaurants. No matter how you choose to allocate your finances, know that Santa Fe includes a range of homes to suit many budgets.

Be aware of food costs

With grocery spending up by 6% in the average American household, more homeowners are thinking twice about splurging on dinner at their favorite restaurants. If you consider yourself a foodie, you should shift your budgetary priorities in Santa Fe. A sizzling culinary scene that includes chile-infused New Mexican cuisine and offerings from around the globe has turned Santa Fe into a dining destination. Build a monthly food budget that accounts for trips to the city’s greatest restaurants. You may need to trim costs in other areas to make room for repeat visits.

Understand how much traveling will cost

How much should you budget toward transportation costs? The answer may hinge on your commute and travel aspirations. Living in Santa Fe comes with lots of perks, including the ability to visit all of New Mexico’s majestic natural attractions, but with this perk comes a hidden cost: gas. If you hope to take advantage of the region’s natural beauty, budget for road trips.

Those who travel or commute extensively can find comfort in the fact that New Mexico’s gas prices are lower than the national average at $3.449 per gallon. By contrast, residents of New Mexico’s neighboring states to the west are paying as much as a dollar per gallon above the national average. Commuters in Santa Fe hold a distinct advantage, as well. Given Santa Fe’s size, commuters do not have to deal with traffic gridlock like those living in larger urban centers do. Santa Fe residents spend roughly 20 minutes on their daily commute, which is lower than the national average.

Check utilities

Santa Fe residents can bank on having lower utility bills than their neighbors in other cities. Typically, utility bills include gas, water, electricity, and sewer costs. Santa Fe's water rates are among the highest in the country. At the same time, however, Santa Fe residents tend to use much less water than residents in other western states, and the city incentivizes good stewardship of water with a tiered rate system. Santa Fe residents’ electric bills are lower than the national average. Low electricity costs and a climate conducive to harnessing the sun’s energy make Santa Fe an opportune location to invest in solar energy. Over time, residents who equip solar panels to their homes can facilitate their own electricity and invest those savings into other priorities. 

Find your next home in Santa Fe

Santa Fe’s dynamic culture and natural beauty will continue to attract new residents. While housing prices remain high, those who invest in Santa Fe will reap the personal rewards of living in a desirable location as they build equity. Potential residents should break down their budgets to understand essential costs and create a financial strategy. They also should partner with a seasoned real estate agent who knows Santa Fe’s neighborhoods and can guide them toward a home that aligns with their preferences.

The RCT Team  has experience working in Santa Fe’s booming real estate market and has helped many clients land the perfect property. Our #1 realtors in Santa Fe will answer any questions and work tirelessly on your behalf. Reach out to us today to learn more about the cost of living in Santa Fe and how you can find your next home.

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