What Is The Cost Of Living In Santa Fe, New Mexico?

Cost of Living in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Situated in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo, Santa Fe is the fourth-largest city in the state – and the capital city. With over 80,000 residents and growing at a rapid pace, Santa Fe is rich with history, old architecture, and a vibrant culture that goes back hundreds of years.

With a cost of living index at 115.4, Santa Fe is generally considered more expensive than the national average – and you’ll see why in the moment. With one of the hottest housing markets in the United States right now, it can be hard for those looking to buy a home.

Originally settled as a Spanish colony back in 1610, Santa Fe has a lot of history and culture to offer. Let’s dive in and see if this gorgeous city is right for you to call home.

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Housing Costs in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The housing cost of living index for housing in Santa Fe, New Mexico is a staggering 164.5, making it 50% more expensive for housing than the national average. You can clearly see this in the median home values, listed below.

Median Home Values in Santa Fe, Compared

Location Median House Price Homeownership Rates
Santa Fe $536,995 61.9%
Albuquerque $239,548 58.3%
New Mexico $229,947 67.7%
United States $320,000 68.8%

At the end of 2020, the Santa Fe housing market absolutely exploded, with two financial quarters increasing housing prices by over 16% and 19%. This leaves the median home value in Santa Fe at over half a million, the highest it has ever been.

According to local news reports from Santa Fe, it is becoming a retreat for those in California fleeing drought, wildfire, and overcrowding. Housing prices in California are extremely high, with a high cost of living. Many relocating to Santa Fe are used to double or triple housing prices, and these transplants are driving up the market, leading to this housing boom.

Median Home Prices in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Value of Home Percent of Homes
$970,000 and Above 8.5%
$647,000-$969,999 10.1%
$517,000-$646,999 7.8%
$388,000-$516,999 17.7%
$259,000-$387,999 29.2%
$129,000-$258,999 17.6%
Sub $128,999 9.1%

Many financial and real estate experts seem unsure if this housing boom will last in Santa Fe, or if at some point soon the bubble will burst and housing prices will level off. Until then, however, the housing market is red hot – and prices continue to climb.

50.5% of homes in Santa Fe were built between 1970-199, with 20.5% newer, having been built since 2000. 16.9% of homes are apartment complexes, with 56.7% single-family homes. Of those, 39.6% of homes have 3 bedrooms, and 32.8% have 2 bedrooms.

Rental Costs in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Housing Size Santa Fe Santa Fe Metro New Mexico United States
Studio $897 $818 $597 $821
1 Bedroom $1020 $928 $693 $930
2 Bedroom $1173 $1069 $847 $1148
3 Bedroom $1543 $1406 $1181 $1537
4 Bedroom $1700 $1551 $1382 $1791

Rental prices in Santa Fe are only slightly higher than the national average, though quite a bit higher than the average for New Mexico as a whole. As the housing market continues to flourish, more apartment buildings are expected to be constructed – and prices will continue to rise.

Though, the state as a whole, has one of the lowest average monthly rental rates in the country. For renters, New Mexico is considered to be very affordable. To put things in perspective, the following table outlines how the average monthly rent in Santa Fe compares to other cities in the state of New Mexico:

City Average Rent
Santa Fe, New Mexico $1,460
Albuquerque, New Mexico $1,117
Rio Rancho, New Mexico $1,035
Las Cruces, New Mexico $875
Los Alamos, New Mexico $1,195
Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico $1,077

Taxes in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Taxpayers in Santa Fe, New Mexico pay three main forms of state and local taxes: local property taxes, a state income tax, and state and local gross receipts taxes. For each of these, the state of New Mexico ranks below the national average.

Sales Taxes in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The state of New Mexico does not technically have a sales tax. It does, however, have a gross receipts tax. Businesses are charged this tax, which is collected at the state, county, and city levels. The tax is often passed along to consumers by either adding it to the purchase price or notating it on the invoice. 

New Mexico’s statewide gross receipts tax is 5.125%, while the additional county and city taxes can total 4.12%. This means that the highest gross receipts tax you could pay in New Mexico is 9.25%. In Santa Fe, the additional county and city taxes is 3.313%, meaning the total gross receipts tax rate is 8.438%.

Property Taxes in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Despite crazy housing prices, Santa Fe has some of the lowest property taxes in the state. Santa Fe County has just 0.560% property tax, significantly lower than both the New Mexico average of 0.780% and the national average of 1.070%.

This means for a home valued at the median, or $536,995, property taxes would be just $3,007 annually for residents. That is over $2,700 cheaper than what the national average would be.

Income Taxes in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Like many states and the federal income tax, New Mexico has several tax brackets – and as of 2021, a new one has been added. There are five base tax rates in New Mexico, with the highest (and newest) being 5.9%.

In New Mexico, the higher your annual earnings, the higher your income tax rate. This will apply to residents making over $10,000 as a single filer, over $315,000 as a head of household, or over $157,500 for married residents filing separately.

The lowest tax bracket in New Mexico pays just 1.7%.

Utility Costs in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The utility cost of living index for Santa Fe is 99.6, which makes it just under the national average. For a 915 square foot apartment, residents of New Mexico can expect to pay $142/month for heating, cooling, water, garbage, and electricity. The average monthly bill for residents who have high-speed internet is $70.

The average price of residential electricity in Santa Fa is 12.31¢/kWh, higher than the state’s average of 11.37¢/kWh. This is also noticeably higher than the country’s average electrical rates, which are approximately 11.88¢/kWh.

Food Costs in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Food in Santa Fe Cost
Average Meal for 1 $14-$17
Mid-Range Meal for 2 $45-$55
Gallon of Milk $2.70-$3
Loaf of Fresh Bread $2.45-$2.75
12 Eggs $1.75-$2
1lb Chicken $3.25-$3.50
1lb of Bananas $0.59

The grocery cost of living index for Santa Fe is 101, which makes it slightly above the United States’ average, though not by much.

There are hundreds of restaurants in the Santa Fe area, with the highest-rated ones being Mexican, Italian, and Southwestern food.

Transportation Costs in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Good news – Santa Fe is finally cheaper than the national average at something! The transportation cost of living index in Santa Fe is just 80.2, making it significantly cheaper to travel in and around the city. Transportation costs are another important factor that you must consider in order to determine the overall cost of living in a particular location. These include expenses such as gas prices, public transportation costs, and car insurance premiums.

The average resident of Santa Fe spends just 19.1 minutes one way on their daily commute to work, significantly less than the national average of 26.4 minutes. 77.8% of people drive their car, while 9.5% carpool with others, and 1.7% take public transportation options. Santa Fe is one of the biggest cities in New Mexico.

The Cost of a Gallon of Gas, Compared

Location Cost
Santa Fe $2.44
Albuquerque $2.32
United States $2.62

Public Transportation in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The city of Santa Fe does have bus routes that run through the downtown area for residents who don’t wish to drive, or cannot.

Trips Regular Fare Reduced for Seniors/Disabled
1 Day $1 $0.50
3 Day $5 $2.50
5 Day $7 $3.50
15 Day $10 $5
31 Day $20 $10

In addition to the bus system, Santa Fe is considered to be one of the most walkable cities in the United States. You don’t need four wheels to get around the downtown area – plenty of crosswalks and sidewalks mean you can take yourself where you need to go.

Annual Car Insurance Premiums in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The average car insurance premium in Santa Fe, New Mexico is $1,471 per year. Though, your rate can vary based on your age, driving record, the insurance company that you choose, and whether you opt for full or minimum coverage.  To help illustrate how car insurance premiums vary based on where you live in New Mexico, the following table outlines average car insurance rates in five New Mexico cities:

City Average Annual Premium for Full Coverage Percent Increase in Average Annual Premium
Santa Fe $1,471 4%
Farmington $1,312 -8%
Albuquerque $1,614 12%
Roswell $1,428 1%
South Valley $1,719 21%

Schools in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Santa Fe public school district serves over 13,000 students annually, with that number growing each year. There are currently 50 elementary schools, 41 middle schools, and 31 high schools, with 37 of them public district schools. There are 9 public charter schools and 91 total private schools in the area.

Santa Fe schools regularly rank within the bottom half of the state. The public schools in the area have an average math proficiency score of just 17%, with a state average of 22%, and an average reading proficiency score of 28%, with the state average of 29%.

The student: teacher ratio in Santa Fe public schools is exactly the state average, 16:1.

Entertainment Costs in Santa Fe, New Mexico

There is a lot to see and do in Santa Fe! If you’re interested in the arts, the Georgia O’Keeffe museum resides in Santa Fe, and tickets are $20 per adult, free for children. The Santa Fe Opera House brings some of the best shows in the country to the city, and tickets range in price depending on the event, but are generally $10 for adults and $8 for seniors. Meow Wolf in downtown Santa Fe also has regular changing immersive modern art exhibits and costs $46 per adult, $40 for children 5-13 and seniors.

Interested in something free? There is plenty of hiking within a few miles of the city itself – check out Picacho Peak Tail, the Nambe Lake Trail, or the Williams Lake Trail. The Santa Fe Plaza is a historical site in downtown Santa Fe that has been the center of the community for hundreds of years. Or, take a walk down Canyon Road and observe the modern art that lines it!

Clothing Costs in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Item of Clothing Price
1 Pair of Brand-Name Jeans $44
1 Summer Dress (From a Chain Retail Store) $33
1 Pair of Brand-Name Shoes $70
1 Pair of Dress Shoes $76

Clothing costs in Santa Fe tend to run slightly cheaper than the rest of the United States. There are several shopping malls within the city, including an outlet mall, The Fashion Outlets of Santa Fe, that offers reasonable prices on brand-name goods. This is the only outlet mall in the state.

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Should You Move to Santa Fe, New Mexico?

Santa Fe, New Mexico is a bustling, growing city right now. With over 80,000 residents and rapidly expanding, Santa Fe is the fourth-largest city in New Mexico.

If you can afford the housing prices Santa Fe has to offer, or you’re comfortable renting while the market bubbles, Santa Fe could be a great place to call home. This town has hundreds of years of history, existing long before the United States was settled by Europeans, and has a rich, vibrant culture to share.

If you are not completely sold on Santa Fe but are still considering relocating to New Mexico, check out What Are The 10 Biggest Cities In New Mexico?

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