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Overall, Albuquerque, NM is 70% cheaper than Los Angeles, CA

Your Money Goes Farther in Albuquerque

Albuquerque, NM
Los Angeles, CA

$299,000 Albuquerque, NM

70.5% less

Median Home Cost

$980,000 Los Angeles, CA

$3,139Albuquerque, NM

75% less

Property Taxes

(annual based on avg price home)

$12,250 Los Angeles, CA

Albuquerque, NM Webinar

Everything you need to know about Albuquerque and Santa Fe real estate.

Webinar originally recorded for


- How are you doing today, David?
- Pretty good, Scott, how are you?
- I'm doing excellent, okay, so, we are live. I wanna welcome everybody to this edition of the Market Insider Series, where every week, we travel the country looking at some of the more popular places that Bay Area residents are moving to. Totally excited today, we are going to be going to the Southwest, Albuquerque, New Mexico. My guest today, David Stafford with 360 Ventures Real Estate, is joining me today. So David, thanks a lot for being here today.
- Yeah, thanks for having me. Hello, everyone. It's a beautiful day here in New Mexico. Scott and I were just talking about it. We'll tell you more about the weather and some other things.

- Absolutely, and we're gonna cover a lot of really good information today. If this is your first time attending one of these webinars, we're gonna talk everything about housing, real estate prices, business, industry, weather, recreation. We're gonna cover a lot of stuff in a short 45-minute window period of time, but we definitely wanna make this interactive, so if you have any questions that you'd like to ask of myself or David, we've got a chat window, we've got a Q and A window. Go ahead and press that button, and feel free to ask away, and we'd love to make this as conversational as possible. So, David, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and also, we're gonna be talking about Santa Fe because that's a destination a lot of people are also interested in, so I'm excited to touch on that as well. Give me and our audience here a little bit of a background on your history in Albuquerque and what your history in business as well.

- Sure, I grew up here, and I went to school here and wound up at one of the best employers that we have it's one of the DOE Complex National Laboratories at Sandia Labs, which is on the Air Force base, and I started real estate on the side, so my wife could stay home with our kids, and that was 15 years ago. And I actually left the labs, which is kind of rare, and I've been in real estate full-time for 11 years, and so now I do a little bit of everything. I've flipped over 100 houses here. I own about 25, and I do own a property management business as well, but my main business is realtor. I represent buyers and sellers every day. I love doing it. I found my passion, and it's been fantastic, and our market is doing really, really well. We're a lot more affordable than other Southwest markets, but we're finally picking up like the others, and it's really cool to see.

- The thing that I love about your background, David, is, like you said, you've got obviously a highly technical background and a lot of experience in the area itself, but also, you've had a lot of experience in, like you said, flipping houses, so you've been in the dirt, you've seen what the opportunities are, you know it at a very, very deep level.

- Right, and I'm buyin' and sellin' with my own money every day in addition to my clients, so that gives me a little bit different perspective and I try to tell people when they're considering who they would work with is to ask them if they are investing in that market regularly, because I think that kind of matters. 'Cause I do the due diligence to know what's a good deal and what's not, and I pass that onto my clients as well.

- Now is it fair to say that a lot of people that are moving to the Albuquerque area are coming in from out of state?

- More now than ever, yes. Just this year, I've been working with actually, so far, just in the last few months, more than any other year for me has been out of state people. This year I've had three families move from Boston, two from California, two from Colorado. I'm showing houses this afternoon with one from Washington. So yeah we've got quite a few moving in and a lot of that has to do with some of the new hiring that's happening here.

- Excellent, and we'll talk about that a little bit as well, but I think what people are initially most interested in is what are some of the more popular communities that people are moving to, and also what do you get for the price? 'Cause that's a big thing. If you're selling your house, whether it's in California, New York, Chicago, and you're coming into your area, what's the affordability level and what can I get for the money that I'm bringing in.

- Absolutely, so we, it's an interesting market here because we are right on the Rio Grande River, so we do have a valley that is green and verdant. We call it the bosque along the river. And it's kinda rural, but it's right through the middle of town, and then we also have the arid foothills, kind of the magical high desert. So we have a little bit of everything. We're just over a mile high. I don't know if people know that. And it's very dry and very comfortable. We have four seasons that are very distinct. They're not extreme. And that kinda makes for a unique place and a nice place. You can basically, our median home price here is only $206,000.

- Wow.

- And as far as Southwestern cities go, our affordability is the best all the way from Dallas to Salt Lake to Phoenix to Vegas and of course anywhere in California. Santa Fe's a little more expensive. It's a little bit, it's got a lot of second homes and a little more money up there. It's a beautiful community. It's only about 85,000 people there, whereas we're 900,000 here. So I can give you some examples of what you can get.

- That would be great. We'd love the visuals.

- I'm gonna start down in the valley where you're gonna see a little bit more green, kind of more green, farm, wineries down there, horse properties and can you see my screen there, Scott?

- Yes, I can. I see a beautiful adobe house right there.

- Yep, this is a good Southwestern style. It's four bedrooms, three baths, 2700 square feet. It's 254 dollars a square foot, and that's 695. It's on an acre of land. But I'm just gonna click through the pictures kind of quickly. It doesn't look like you're in the desert here.

- No, it doesn't at all. And that's an acre?

- Yep, and you can kind of feel the Southwestern style. This is very typical of the valley area. Where you're gonna get that New Mexico style, but you're gonna be kind of in the green area of town, which isn't a ton of green here cause we are the desert, but you can kinda get a sense for it.

- So this is kind of the look and feel that you would see in a lot of houses you mentioned, as far as this type style?

- Yeah.

- 'Cause that's beautiful.

- Yeah, I kinda picked this one because it's very typical. It's got that New Mexico feel to it. It's not a brand new house, so it's probably 10, 15 years old, but it's got the classic style that we'll see here and in Santa Fe. Well, maybe not the blue and red colors.

- You gotta mix it up a little bit, right?

- Yeah it looks like that got some kids. So there you go, that's a good example of one down in the green part of town. Then I'll move up to kind of that you can see the desert foothills here. Look above this house. We're right, you're right in the foothills. You could just ride your mountain bike right out this driveway and up to the trails. Or if you hike, you wouldn't even get in your car. You'd just walk out your front door and head out. And there's all kinds of trails. It's all national forest up here. And so, there's also trails along kind of the main roadways. We're a pretty bike-friendly town as well. So this one is a little different. This one is, it's gonna be cheaper. It's only $400,000 for 2340 square feet. Three bedroom, two bath, two car garage, and it's only 170 a square foot. That's getting to be more like down in the valley, it does cost a little more, you get a little more land, but this is more representative of what you can find in town. But you still get that Southwest feel. You just don't have the greenery everywhere. You've got more of the granite. In the background, there are the mountains.

- Well, it's kind of the dryscape, right? Which in California, since you know, water's getting so expensive, and at this point fairly scarce. People are paying to kinda turn what was some crabgrass into kind of the dryscape.

- Yeah, we do, we're xeriscaping a lot now. We used to have a lot more lawns. We're xeriscaping and saving water. And Albuquerque has set an example for the country, in terms of water conservation. While the city's been growing in population, we've actually reduced water use by about 30 percent over the last 10 years. And that's pretty cool and we try to do that with some xeriscaping. But we sit on a big aquifer, so people worried about the desert, Albuquerque has a gigantic underground aquifer that provides plenty of water. We have a hundred year supply so we're okay.

- So a place like this David, what would, we're right around that 400 price point, how long would you expect a house like this to stay on the market from the time that it's listed?

- Well, because this is the foothills, I would only think about 30 or 40 days. The city average is about 51 days. Some areas of course are hotter than others, so are some price ranges. This being under 400 and in the foothills, that's probably more like about a 25 or 30 day average I think.

- Got it

- But you can see, it's a little more traditional house. But it's clean, it's good size. This is gonna be decent school districts in the foothills. And so you kinda get a feel for what you can get for 399. You can see right where you are on the mountains there.

- It seems like it's pretty low maintenance, as far as the outside area.

- Yeah, they xeriscaped. Kinda like what we were talking about. It's still very pretty and comfortable to sit out. And you know the cool thing is, is we don't have, you know, we're very dry and like I said, our seasons are moderate. We don't have insects or mosquitoes. So, we're out on our patios all the time. So most homes you're gonna see very nice outdoor spaces. Nice patios to enjoy, you know, most of the year. And that's, if you buy a home in New Mexico, you need to make sure you've got some nice outdoor space. So that's one for 400. Let me move onto one middle of town. So Albuquerque does have our largest state university, University of New Mexico. It's got about 30,000 students enrolled there. It is one of the bigger employers in town. And this, it's in the middle of town, and this is an example of a property that is near the university, which of course, anything near the university is pretty popular, too. It is 1650 square feet. Three bedroom, two bath, $187 a square foot. And it's gonna be sort of mid-century, probably 1940s on a house like this, but it still has that unique New Mexico style to it. You know if you keep turquoise on your windows, they say, in New Mexico, it keeps the evil spirits out.

- Is that right?

- That's true. So you've got original wood floors. This is gonna be a really cool traditional house. You've got some Mexican tile. They've done a little bit of updating, a little bit of creative colors there. But you've got the old archways and the built-in shelving, and the old hardware on the doors. So you're gonna feel some real character and charm to this part of town. Probably original floors, they've added a couple of updates here, but this house is gonna be on a little smaller lot because you're down by the university. But, you know.

- Now, would this be good for an investor because you've got the university nearby?

- Yeah, anything, I own about five properties near the university myself and they're very easy to rent. Some people don't like to rent to students. I actually do, but yes, it's a great place to invest. I've got a sweet spot between our area called Uptown and the university that I highly recommend for my investor clients, looking for a good return with low hassle. And so I can share more of that if any of your folks are interested.

- Excellent.

- But yeah that's a big question. So that's an example of, you know, one that's 309. That's a really convenient neighborhood. You can be anywhere in five minutes. You're near the university. You're near the Air Force base. You're near the airport. You're near the interstate. But yet, you're right near the little shopping district called Nob Hill near the university too. So that's a primo area. I don't live too far from there myself so that's a hot one.

- Okay, excellent.

- I'm gonna bump up real quick to Santa Fe. And, you know, a couple of thoughts on Santa Fe is they're a little higher. So we're looking at something like their average right now, or median in Santa Fe is about 370, depending on your source right now. Found a couple different sources maybe 400 thousand. And it's gone up eight percent in the last year or so. It's actually the hottest market in New Mexico right now. So they have such low inventory, and a ton of demand. Now, there's a lot of second homes there. There's a lot of art galleries. It's a very high-end place. So you kinda have, a lot of, you know, you've got some movie stars that have, you know you'll see Gene Hackman around a lot there. You'll see other movie stars that have second homes there. But, and then there's service industry. But it's such a beautiful, it's just such a beautiful place. They do have Saint John's College which is a pretty prestigious liberal arts college in the foothills there. And most of their industry, though is tourism. But that's why the prices are so high because people wanna get second homes there. So we have a lot of, in that 40 to 70 age range buying homes in Santa Fe, and either a second home or retiring there. So they're looking at more like, I'm gonna give you a couple examples. This one right here, is, let's see, it's four bedroom, three bath, .1 acres. So very small because it's near the plaza. So everything revolves in Santa Fe around the plaza. Because that's kind of where everybody wants to be. You wanna be walkable, everybody wants to be walkable these days. And that totally is, so this one is gonna be $461 a square foot. So they're about double what Albuquerque is. 975,000 for 2115 square feet. But you can see kinda the charm and character that you're gonna get in Santa Fe. Are you seeing, you're still seeing my pictures right here?

- Yeah, yep, we're on photo number two right there.

- Yes, cool. So you'll get kind of a feel for that. This is just traditional Santa Fe style right here. Brick floors--

- And how far is that? How far is Santa Fe from Albuquerque? And is there ever traffic?

- No, it's about 60 miles on the interstate. So I get there, my girlfriend actually lives in Santa Fe, so I get there right about 48 minutes. And it's a beautiful drive and it's all interstate. So during rush hour, there's occasionally a little bit, but we also do have a light rail that makes it up in about an hour, too. So sometimes I'll hop on that just 'cause it's a lot nicer. I can bring my, it's got WiFi and I can bring my laptop and do some work. And so, that's kinda, and it drops you off right down by the plaza, it's really nice.

- Excellent.

- And I, so I own a couple Airbnbs in town too. And by old town here, and my clients will come in and I'll recommend if they wanna go to Santa Fe, they just jump up on the rail runner it's called. And zip up to Santa Fe for the day.

- And is it common for people to live in Santa Fe because maybe they like that community better, but maybe they still work and commute into Albuquerque?

- Yeah people do that. A lot more often, we have another, we're very lucky, we have one of the highest PhDs per capita in New Mexico which nobody knows that, and they come here they may not believe that. But we do because we also have Los Alamos National Laboratories. And that's just north of Santa Fe, and it's a gorgeous town and real estate's hot there, but in Los Alamos, it's a small mountain town, and it's a big lab that you can't really buy there. It's very, very tight. So most of the people from Los Alamos National Labs live in Santa Fe. Now some people will live in Santa Fe and commute to Albuquerque, but it's more common to live in Albuquerque to commute to Santa Fe because Albuquerque's a lot lower cost of living.

- So it looks like a lot of these homes that you're showing us, I mean, they're, they've got that Southwestern feel, they've got a lot of character, is there new home construction? 'Cause where we're at, there's not a lot of land, but when you see new home construction, you're kinda seeing the same house, every other house built up, you know. Do you have that in that area?

- Yeah, so we do. We kinda have an interesting, I don't know if you can still see my screen. Are you still seeing my screen?

- I'm still, yep.

- All right cool, so if I just look at Albuquerque, I've got a actual image on my wall here that I show people, a satellite image. But what I'm gonna show you makes this a very unique market for real estate and one that I like to operate in. I'll tell you why. So if you look up north here where my cursor is, this is all the Sandia Pueblo. So this is all Native American land right here. And they have really nice resort casino golf course right here that you can kinda see.

- Yep.

- So the boundary is here. This road, and then we're bound. This is the foothills I showed you that house in the foothills. And these are all very steep mountains. We've got a tramway that goes all the way up, the third highest in the world up to about 11,000 feet here.

- Wow.

- So it's a boundary too, of course. And then you come to the south and we've got our airport and we've got the Air Force base. This is all Kirtland Air Force base. And they do lots of different testing. And Sandia Labs does a lot, so Sandia is located there and the Air Force base is here. We also do have a VA regional hospital here by the way, an important thing to note. So it's a, we get a ton of military retirees here because we have a nice big Air Force base, and I was in the Navy, and the Air Force spend a lot more on people, so they have way better bases than the Navy. So the Air Force base is really nice, and we have a VA regional medical hospital. So we have a lot of military retirees. But below that there's the Isleta Pueblo. So what I just showed you is that were bound on three sides. We have no more development this way, we have no more development this way to the east, and we have no more to the south. All of our development is happening out here. This is the only place to the west. So that's west of the river, but we only have five bridges, so we have a little traffic over the river. So there's a bit of different real estate market on the west side than the east side. Everybody still wants to be over here, critical mass is still over here, business, social is mostly over here. And so I buy and flip houses here because everybody wants a new house, but there's no more new houses over here. And so there are new houses over here. Lots of developers we've got Pulte, Horton, Abrazo. So we've got all the builders building out here including a 55 and over community right off the interstate called Mirehaven. And I'll talk to you more about that in a little bit, but that is a really nice community. But all, yeah, we have, we're all going west. This land is all open. And it's a little more high desert, but you've got views this way to the mountains. So it's kind of a unique--

- Yeah, so you're definitely, I mean, it's definitely land-locked, right?

- Yep.

- Yeah, so there's, you know, you're having to kinda be a little bit creative on where the growth's going. We just had a question that you touched on briefly, maybe we could talk about that a little bit more. Can you talk about the retirement communities in the area?

- Yeah, I can and let me say one more thing about that being land-locked like this is that, you know, you can't, I tell my clients this all the time, you can't eliminate risk from a real estate deal, but what you can do, no matter what, you're buying for yourself, you're selling, you're buying as an investment, but what you can do is minimize or mitigate all those risks. And I really believe that one of the safest places you can buy right now at this moment is Northeast Albuquerque. And that is in this section because it's hyperlocal real estate. And if you're looking at, even when the down turn did hit here, it was much less severe on the northeast part of town than it was on the far west. Because you had builders that were struggling offering huge incentives, anybody trying to sell their regular resale house was having to compete with builders who were giving away a new car in the garage. So that was kind of hard. But it's a very safe bet to purchase property in the main part of Albuquerque right here. As far as retirement, yeah, we do, Las Cruces, 3 hours south of here is always on the, one of the top, on the top 10 list for people to retire. It's a little lower altitude so it's a bit more hot, but we get a ton of retirees too. Because, particularly because the military retirees, but we have two interstates that intersect here in town. So you can get anywhere if you like to RV or drive. We have an international airport right here too. Which is super easy to get in and out, I was just in San Diego this weekend, and it was just, it's always a contrast for me that's pleasurable to know how nice our airport is. We just come in and out in 10 minutes. And it's really nice. So we can get anywhere. Occasionally, we have to transfer a couple times, but Southwest is a major flyer out of here, so I use that a lot. So we also have the VA regional medical center. So a lot of retirees will use that. We've got the major university, which also has a hospital, a teaching hospital. So we've got Presbyterian hospital systems. So we've got about eight large hospitals in the metro area. Between the things you can do here outdoors, the climate, the ease of travel, it makes it a pretty popular destination for retirement. And we do have some Del Webb communities that mostly has Pulte building the homes that have amenities like swimming pools, clubhouses, tons of activities. I can pop this up real quick. This is a picture of the Mirehaven patio. Like I said, if you look the other way toward the mountain, the views are pretty spectacular too. When you're in the foothills, looking this way on the sunset it's great, but when, the sandias are called, sandia means watermelon, and that's the color they are when you get a sunset like this.

- That's beautiful, wow.

- And so that is from the deck of the clubhouse at Mirehaven.

- Can you go back on the map? Or in a minute, show us where that's located at.

- It's right here. So here's the Rio Grande going through town. Here's the two interstates crossing and then go west, where they're developing. It's right here.

- Got it, and about how many units is that? Is that a pretty big community?

- They you know what, they, it just opened. Probably, I sold two this year already. They started building only about a year ago. So they're, I think they've got maybe four or 500 planned, and they're maybe halfway done. We have two other Del Webb communities. One in Rio Ranch and one in Los Lunas, but those finished a couple years ago. So they're just resale now. But I can give you a couple more, so there's a picture of the swimming pool, same view to the mountains, that's the clubhouse. And then I'll give you some examples of some housing in there. They all go from about 2000 square feet for 308,000. That's 150 bucks a square foot. And you've got a lot, it's kind of interesting 'cause I never, I didn't know what to think of communities that said they were 55 plus, until I started selling this and I was so impressed, I felt like, will they make an exception for me? Can I maybe move in a little early?

- They might make you wait a few years.

- Right, so, but they're really fantastic though. The floor plans are great. They're all single story. They're all open floor concept. They all have patios. They have the higher amenities. It's a safe place so you that can lock and leave and travel. It's got things going on in the clubhouse every night. Anyway, they go from about, these are base prices. And I, since I sold one here, I know if you wanna add some of the some things that are very appealing, you're looking at about maybe 170 a square foot. That's gonna be anywhere from 1500 square foot. They have two bedroom 1500 square foot homes for about 250 and then all the way up to about 2500 square foot homes you can get. If you go all in with bells and whistles, you're about 450.

- That seems really reasonable, right? Especially for a lot of people who are coming from, you know, California, they probably have a certain amount of equity in the property. And they're saying, we'd like to be able to pay something cash, and be able to have something left over. That could be conducive, it seems, for a lot of people.

- Absolutely, and that's what my California buyers, they really can't believe what they can get for their money here. It's kind of a nice surprise for them.

- What percentage of people would you say are coming in as retired, and not necessarily looking for this specific type of community, but are retired versus people who are coming in working families or working individuals?

- You know, for me because I'm, that's a very specific question. For me because I have a pretty extensive network at Sandia Labs, probably half my business is Sandia folks, so that couple I'm gonna show houses this afternoon from Washington, he's a new hire at Sandia. So for me, it's kind of a mix. Most of my business is personal referral, but then I get a lot of it just because of my reviews online. So those people tend to be, like my last California people, they came from Pleasanton. They just closed about three weeks ago. They were selling their house in Pleasanton, they bought a $725,000 house down in the bosque along the river in Corrales. An acre of land, it's got a guest house. And, you know, they were here for, we literally were out for maybe four hours, they found the perfect house, wrote a cash offer and bought it. They just couldn't believe what they could get for the money. And so, for me, it's a mix, probably a pretty even mix.

- Okay. Tell us a little bit, so we kind of talked about a little bit about the home price trends, you mention it's about 51 average days on market. But we all know that has a lot to do with what specific areas you're going into and price points. More popular areas, more popular price points might be maybe 20 to 30 days, is that right?

- Yeah absolutely, in fact, we're seeing multiple offers. Right before you and I connected, I was on the phone trying to write an unseen cash offer for 450 for a new house for a buyer that's missed out on others, and we wrote the cleanest offer ever and the agent called me and said sorry, we've got five others. And they haven't even opened it for showings yet. So, you know, that, it's pretty, yeah it's pretty hot. So if it's priced right, the days on market are gonna be, if I'm listing one of my remods or for my clients, I wanna see something the first two weekends or I'm already recommending a small price adjustment. Because it's a very efficient market right now, and it's not that we're getting overseen, it's that, you know, on my listings, we optimize the presentation, so I know that the last variable is price. And so if that's, if we're not getting hot activity in two weekends then--

- Well, you pretty much know right? That's, I think that's across all markets, if there's an issue, if you've got a pretty hot real estate market, but the house seems to be sitting.

- Yep, that's right.

- So let's talk a little bit about, did you have some other properties that you wanted to show us David?

- No, that's, oh I did have one more in Santa Fe if you guys wanna check out another one in Santa Fe. So it's a little bit more affordable, oh man, it just logged me out.

- Looks like you got kicked out.

- Yeah, give me two seconds. I did wanna show you this one because Santa Fe's not all million dollar houses. There's a lot of that, but I think it'd be nice to see, let me give you this other one real quick. It'll just take me one second. Sorry about that.

- Yeah, no problem.

- Okay, so this one is a little bit more affordable. Now this is probably a couple miles from the plaza, but we're looking at 375 thousand for a thousand square feet. Can you see me here?

- Yep, we got it.

- So this one is still gonna have that very Santa Fe style to it. You're gonna have the Mexican tile, the brick floors, the beam, and the vigas and tundra roof ceilings. And so it's got that kind of European feel. That's what people like about Santa Fe is when you're there in that downtown area, you're gonna feel like you might be in Europe. You know, you've got soft corners--

- That sounded unique, yeah, I like it.

- It's super cool. It's very different and kinda comfortable. So you can just get a feel for this house. I mean, even this one has kind of the raw beams in this room still have the bark on it. And it's an old city too. So you'll have homes that are on historic register that are original real adobe set. By the way, those are very hard to remodel.

- Yeah, I was gonna say, it probably wouldn't be very cost-effective to try to do that.

- Yeah, no. So that's, that one is an example. Maybe two miles to your center of town, maybe two miles from the plaza. You're about 1,000 square feet, 375,000. You can find more affordable family neighborhoods in Santa Fe for maybe $200 a square foot. So you get a 1700 square foot, three bedroom house, and you're maybe 350 to 400, which is a little bit more amenable or attractive to families.

- Got it, so real quick, 'cause we're talking about kind of the retiree portion of it, we'll get into more of the industry and employment piece of it, but if I was retiring in let's say a year, and I'm definitely interested in Albuquerque. I've done some research online, but I'm considering okay, should I focus on Albuquerque or Santa Fe? There's a lot of differences, but what would be your recommendation, and things to consider, when you're considering the two for a retirement destination?

- Yeah, so that's a really good question. You know, I think that if you find Santa Fe affordable, most people are gonna pick Santa Fe. Just because it's a special place. When I go up there, even for the weekend, it's just, I feel like I'm getting away, on a vacation. It's really a magical place and I love it. So that is probably the deal. But if you want to be closer to the airport, and the different interstates, a bigger city with, you know, more traditional shopping, and maybe a little bit more nightlife, things to do, then the perfect, perfect compromise is a community called Placitas, which is a high-desert community about 20 maybe 10 miles, 15 miles north of Albuquerque, and I've driven it. It's probably 35 miles to the plaza, or 35 minutes to the plaza in Santa Fe. So you're between both, and it's a lot more affordable than Santa Fe, but it has the same feel, same quality of homes. It's a very exclusive community that's kinda, it feels a little like Scottsdale, because they've got architectural controls to where the adobe homes kind of blend into the foothills. And they don't allow big yards and lawns. That would a place that I think anybody considering what you're saying, moving to the Southwest. They've got some equity in their property in California, and they're thinking wow, they love the feel of Santa Fe, but they like the convenience of Albuquerque, and the affordability. Placitas would--

- What would the average price point be there in that community?

- You're probably looking at something in the, you know, five to 700 range. You can find them as low as 400, and you can get them up to 1.5 million, but we don't go too much over that. And Placitas isn't a, it's a pretty, you don't find lower than probably about 350.

- Okay, but that's pretty reasonable, right? If you're getting in there average maybe five to seven hundred, that definitely seems--

- Yeah, and that would be the median in fact, I pulled 'em up last night while I was preparing for this. And there were about 51 homes for sale in there. And I think the number 26 one was like 519, so the median was right in there.

- Yeah, excellent. So let's talk about, is there anything else you wanted to show us David? Before I have you close the screen?

- No, I think we're good on that. I think I hit all the homes I was gonna show you. Let me stop the share on that.

- So let's talk about, so we talked a little bit about the retirement people and folks like that. What about somebody who is looking for and maybe they're not getting a transfer, specifically through their employer, but they're looking at it to take their family, or to move to, and they're gonna continue to work, they're still working age. What are some of the more prevalent industries, you mentioned a couple, what are some of the more prevalent industries and high growth industries where there's job growth?

- Yeah, so we're actually got some exciting announcements recently. So Intel has a big fab here that's on par with Phoenix and Portland, but we, in the last 5 years, they started ramp, they've started putting their new chip development in the other locations. So we've slowly been dwindling down, which hurts us a little bit because their exports from New Mexico equaled about a half a billion a year, so that really concerned us, when they were starting to draw down, and I was selling higher-end houses for educated management level folks at Intel. That was disconcerting, but they've recently been wrapping up again, so they've got a new technology that they're gonna use these facilities for. And so they're actively hiring. Sandia Labs is aggressively hiring, hence my afternoon today out with that new hire they just hired. They announced publicly that they're hiring about 500 more people. And so those are high-end jobs. Sandia's probably our best employer. There's about 10,000 folks employed out there, and they're all master, you know, majority are master level and above. And they're engineers, so they're the engineering lab of Los Alamos's R and D part. So when they develop nuclear weapons, it was R and D at Los Alamos, and the building and the engineering part was Sandia. But Sandia's been real aggressive about diversifying just away from not just nuclear weapons to all high technology from new, wind and solar to lots of Department of Defense. The area I worked in was Microwave Imaging systems. And that's high-resolution radar system. That's why I've got that, I was showing you that satellite image. I've got some of those on my wall in here. They had diversified to where nuclear weapons is only half of what they do. They do now grid protection and risk mitigation for our country. They do ton, they've got a nuclear reactor out there that they do lots of testing. They've got everything. So, if you're high-tech, and there's obviously ancillary related businesses outside of the Air Force base gates. So that's probably the biggest one between Los Alamos, Sandia Labs, and the University of New Mexico, there's a lot of high-tech stuff going on. We've got an incubator downtown. And so that part's pretty cool. Obviously having a, my, I've got a couple that just closed. They're both coming to, one of Boston family I was telling you about. They are both professors, and they're moving to the University of New Mexico. So, the university's a big employer, the city, the Air Force base, Sandia Labs, Intel, and then exciting stuff is that Facebook just opened a new data center here, just south of town about 20 miles. And then, Netflix bought the movie studio that was here, and they are planning to invest, I think it was like 100 million.

- Wow.

- And they're gonna be producing lots of their content right here. Our new governor has doubled the tax credits available for movie production, and then just last week. So Netflix made that announcement about six months ago. And that's been pretty exciting. When a company like that does that, as you know in economic development, then other companies start to look and go, Okay, why did Netflix do that? Why did they pick Albuquerque, right? So last week, NBC Universal just announced they're also building a studio in downtown Albuquerque, and they expect at least 300 jobs for that, full time. And then lots of ancillary of course. So we're gonna be doing a lot more movie production which brings a ton of economic development here. I tried to--

- It's gonna be the new Hollywood right?

- Yeah, well I tried to show a $2.4 million house the other day, which there's not a lot of those, so I was super excited to show it. My client was in from Miami, and I called the other agent to show it and she said, oh, she goes, I'm so sorry, David. We just booked a short-term rental 'til the end of June with a high-profile actress. And I didn't, she wouldn't tell me who it was. So we couldn't see the house, but it turned out it was Angelina Jolie. So that doesn't happen a lot to us in Albuquerque, but it was kinda neat.

- Albuquerque is being put on the map right?

- Yeah, but my $2.4 million sale was spoiled by Angelina Jolie.

- Gotta get her out of there. One thing that I was reading this morning online, is the average tech worker in Albuquerque is, the average earnings is 85,000 a year, which is higher than the equivalent earnings in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and a lot of other markets. Clearly it's not higher than let's say Denver, Portland, or Seattle, the Bay Area, but obviously when you adjust the cost of living for that, with some of these other cities, I mean it's very, it's a very competitive wage adjusted for cost of living.

- Absolutely. And so if you will let me share one more time here. Let me just show you this chart that I have that speaks to that exactly.

- And while you're pulling that up, James, we did get your question here, and then I will get those, I'll make sure that I get to those questions that you have.

- Let's see, I think it's, here we go. So let's take a look at exactly what you're saying. So can you see this chart here?

- Yeah.

- So Affordability Index, what that is is that's the comparison of median family income to median home price. So how much of the, in other words, and if this is below a hundred, which Santa Fe is by the way, then really your median family income can't buy the median family home. So it's not affordable. But if you look at this list, we are, and Denver is actually the least affordable on this list at 109, but out of this entire list, of everything in the Southwest, Austin, Colorado Springs, Dallas, Denver, all of these. We are the most affordable. And the median home price is only 205,000. And we're going up just like they are, not as fast as they are. But that's exactly, that metric shows that what you read online is exactly right that if you move here, and you have, particularly in the tech realm, then you are immediately able to buy even greater than the median home and be comfortable.

- Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so James has a question, a few different topics and I want to get into, he's asking about taxes. I wanna make sure that we cover taxes because obviously people are coming from California, we're now in tax shock. We've got the highest state income tax, we've got more taxes that are coming in. So let's maybe make some comparisons. What's the state income tax rate right now?

- So we do have a state income tax. It's 1.7 percent at the lowest, but at the highest it's only 4.9 percent. Yeah, 1.7 to 4.9.

- Okay, very low. And for comparison purposes, Californians, goes it's from seven and a quarter percent up to 12.3 percent.

- Oh wow.

- Obviously, we are the highest in the nation, especially when you get up to that 12.3 threshold. What about your property tax rate? If I'm buying a house there, what can I expect, you know, to pay for property taxes?

- They're not too bad. Compare, most people come to Albuquerque, most of my out-of-state buyers, and they are pleasantly surprised. So we're about, here's the thumb rule, we're about one percent, one to 1.5 percent, Santa Fe's about one, outside of Albuquerque on the outskirts, if you're out of the city limits, it's about one percent of your purchase price per year.

- Okay.

- So if you buy a house for 500,000, you're gonna pay about 5,000 a year, that's about 400 a month on your house. So that's not too bad. Now if you're in Albuquerque, it's a little higher, you're about 1.4 percent. So you're probably paying more about 575 a month on a $500,000 house.

- That's pretty comparable of what we're at. We're an average of about 1.25 percent, but there might be additions on to that, what we call a Mello-Roos tax or just additional taxes on that. So that's pretty comparable. What about the state sales tax rate?

- It depends on where you're at, but it's really about between seven to eight percent. Albuquerque's 7.875.

- Okay and we're right around there. We're at about eight and a quarter percent, obviously depending on a few different factors. So that's relatively similar, but obviously the big difference is the state income tax rate, certainly seems to favor New Mexico.

- I thought your property taxes were higher there.

- Well, it depends on the area, but usually it's one and a quarter percent, it could be up to one and a half percent. We make up for it in other ways. So James also had a question, let's talk about, as quick as we can, we've got just a couple of minutes here. You mentioned, you talked about public transportation a little bit. Maybe get into to that a little bit more. What's currently in place, and what's planned? Especially based off the growth initiatives that you're seeing coming into place in the area.

- Yeah, so one of the bigger names that we have in politics, that actually has a national name was Bill Richardson. And he was our governor for 8 years, after being Secretary of State. But he was pretty progressive in his thinking. And so he did that light rail that goes all the way from the south of Albuquerque to downtown Santa Fe. And so that does get pretty good use, it hasn't broken even on cost yet, but it's a nice thing to have and that's what government has to do sometimes, is subsidize that until we, we can't wait 'til we need it for some of those things. So our last mayor in town did this dedicated bus system up Central, which is the center part of town. And it's been a little bit of a mess, but once they get that going that will be pretty good. But I can't say that that means that we're good with public transportation 'cause we're not. So we have very good bike crowds and bike systems, and we do have good bus systems, but in the end, it's not that easy, and we are spread out, and we're suffering from sprawl. And we do, you kinda need a car. We're not that public transportation friendly. I hate to admit that but we're not. But I will tell you this, we do not have traffic issues. Both interstates, all the way through, all the bridges, the interchanges everything. The exits have all been redone within the last 15 years. And so I complain if it takes me 15 minutes to get anywhere. That part is really nice about Albuquerque. Like I said I was in San Diego this weekend, and it actually wasn't that bad. But I've been in other big cities, just like Denver it just drives me nuts.

- Well, you feel the pain, and to be honest with you David, a lot of, you know we do a lot of these series in different cities, and what we're seeing is a lot of the cities didn't plan for the growth when it came to transportation, public transportation things like that. And so I think a lot of cities are struggling in that respect, but those cities also are struggling because they don't have viable options, but they might have maybe an average commute of 30 to 45 minutes. Clearly in the Bay Area, you might be commuting an hour and a half, two hours each way depending on where you're going to. But where you're at, if we're talking 10 to 15 minutes, it's not really a struggle.

- No, we're very spoiled. I'm grateful for that.

- I wanna make, so we've got a couple other quick things to cover, and I don't wanna run too far over the time. So tell us about kinda the weather. What can you expect as far as temperature and the climate there?

- Well, so I'm looking at the mountains out my windows right here and it's clear. I see one tiny little cloud that looks like it might be on The Simpsons TV show floating by and there's no wind, and it's probably gonna hit 90, and humidity is probably down around 20. So, tonight it'll hit high 60s. So if you're on a patio for dinner tonight, it'll probably be about 70. In the summer, our high is about 93, I think, in June or July, and our low is gonna be in the 60s. So there's usually about a, we're a desert so about a 30 degree swing in the summer so from four in the morning to four in the afternoon. And then our high in January is gonna be about low 40s, and our low is gonna be probably low 20s. We have world-class skiing and snowboarding in Santa Fe, Taos. I have a little condo in Taos, and that's about two and a half hours away. Durango, Purgatory, Wolf Creek are about three hours away. So fantastic winter sports. Angel Fire turns into a mountain bike park. So we've got, the outdoor living here is fantastic. If you like to hike, mountain bike, kayak, white water rafting, horseback riding, hiking, I mean, we pretty much got it all.

- Pretty much year round right? You're gonna find something that's in a pretty reasonable proximity.

- Yep, absolutely. Super easy to get to. A lot of people do it. There's guides. There's, you know if you wanna learn something new, here it's very easy to do.

- You mentioned you got the aquifer system. Is there much rainfall? And then also, California we don't get much in terms of any crazy type of weather. But are there any tornadoes, anything like that?

- So my understanding is the definition of a desert is less than 10 inches per year, and we get nine and a half inches a year. So we're pretty dry. We have, in the summers we'll have what we call our monsoon season. We'll get afternoon rains. But we don't have any extreme weather. One of the things, this is an interesting thought. So I sold a house for a couple where she worked at NOAA, the National Oceanic Administration I think it is, up in Washington, and she said that they actual do long-term planning for population migration over the future. And they're expecting what's happening. I don't know if you and I talked about this, but they're expecting people to be going in from the coasts for economic and climate reasons over the next few decades, and finding places like New Mexico. She specifically said this'll be a place people like to go, and one of those reasons is that we don't have, because of our topography here we don't have tornadoes, we don't have hurricanes, we don't have flooding. We don't have natural disasters. And that is kind of cool, and a lot of people that are coming, my Boston folks, two of those families were coming because they were sick of the weather. So you know, it's a place to come if you like a change of seasons, but moderately.

- It sounds very moderate. One thing that we're spoiled with in the Bay Area, and obviously throughout California, which you spent some time in, the weather is fantastic, it's not too extreme on either side. We've had, granted, more rain in the last year or two, which has been great for California, than we normally do. But you kinda know what to expect, when you wake up the next day, what the weather's going to be, whereas, a lot of other areas in the Midwest and the South, it could change like that overnight. And there might be a 60 degree swing. So we're very spoiled here, but clearly you guys have kind of that same luxury just for a lot lower of a price point.

- Right, right, well and I was looking at the San Diego, so my daughter, we went out to San Diego 'cause she's looking at Point Loma for playing soccer there, and we were saying, and she has something where it's called Raynaud's syndrome, where she can't handle extreme cold. So when she's playing soccer in the cold, it's a little tough for her. But the cool thing about San Diego, and California, and I was stationed in Alameda, by the way for 2 years in the Navy.

- Oh yeah.

- I remember that. But you have this beautiful, moderate weather the whole time. So the high and low at Point Loma in San Diego was almost the same in January as it is in July, or at least in June when its kinda, they have that June gloom and it was colder this weekend, but that is fantastic, I could see living somewhere like that. And I think you guys have that luxury and it's nice. The cool thing about New Mexico is that we get a change of seasons. And I think that part is kinda cool. So when it's snowing and it's Christmas time, I think that's cool.

- It is yeah. When you don't have to drive too far, and it's actually happening around you, it's nice.

- Right.

- That's great. Okay David, I know we're a little bit over time here, but that was some great information that you brought up. I really appreciate your time. This has been a fantastic introduction to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, so thank you.

- Yeah, thank you, let's do it again.

- Absolutely. Okay, so for those of you who are watching, if you have somebody that you think might benefit from watching this we will have this, it is being recorded, we'll have it ready to go on the website in about a week. And if you have any questions, David, thank you so much again for your time today. And we'll be in touch, take care.

- Take care everyone, thank you.

- Okay bye, bye.

Cost of Living Comparisons

Albuquerque, NM VS Los Angeles, CA
Cost to Rent

57.7% less

Cost to Rent

Cost to Rent

3.7% more


Cost to Rent

7.8% less

Food & Groceries

Cost to Rent

9.3% less

Health Costs

Cost to Rent

45.9% less


Cost to Rent

34.4% less

Auto Insurance (Annually)

Cost to Rent

60.1% less

Auto Sale Tax

Cost to Rent

35.7% less

Auto Registration (Annually)

Cost to Rent

21.4% less

Sales Tax

Cost to Rent

14.4% less

State Income Tax

Cost to Rent

29.2% less

Child Care

Commute Comparison

Albuquerque, NM Los Angeles, CA

Average Commute Times

21 mins 31 mins

Comparison of gas prices

$2.40 $3.79

Live Traffic Comparison

Albuquerque, NM

Los Angeles, CA



Los Angeles

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Average Winter High
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Rain (inches per year)
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