Most Affordable Places To Live In New Mexico For 2020

We used data and science to determine which places in New Mexico go easy on your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the cheapest places to live in New Mexico.

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 2020.

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.

The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In New Mexico For 2020

1. LovingtonLovington, NM

Source: Public domain

Population: 11,575
Median Household Income: $51,704

If you love paying low prices for great quality, then you’ll love Lovington, the most affordable place to live in New Mexico for 2020. Lovington has the tenth cheapest homes for sale statewide, with a median price of $111,300. Even better, thanks to a median income of $51,704, 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.

2. CarlsbadCarlsbad, NM

Population: 28,838
Median Household Income: $66,110

Carlsbad ranks as the second cheapest city in New Mexico overall, despite having some of the highest home prices on this list at $137,000. How’d Carlsbad achieve a #2 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 $66,110, 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 $946, 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

3. HobbsHobbs, NM

Source: Public domain

Population: 38,052
Median Household Income: $58,624

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 third 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 $131,700 and a median income of $58,624. It’s also the fifth most affordable place to rent in New Mexico, so the choice between buying and renting has no bad option.

4. RoswellRoswell, NM

Population: 48,186
Median Household Income: $43,481

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 $105,700.

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 (on a budget, no less).

5. BloomfieldBloomfield, NM

Source: Public domain

Population: 7,996
Median Household Income: $57,706

We’re going to take a long drive up to northwestern New Mexico to arrive at the state’s fifth cheapest city, Bloomfield. While Bloomfield does have the most expensive homes on this list at $145,600, a high median income of $57,706 allows Bloomfield to be the sixth most affordable place in New Mexico for home-buyers. And with a median rent of $781, 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.

6. Truth Or ConsequencesTruth Or Consequences, NM

Source: Public domain

Population: 5,968
Median Household Income: $27,511

Truth or Consequences is a city and county seat in Sierra County, New Mexico, United States. In 2012, the population was 6,411. It is commonly known within New Mexico as T or C. It has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names.

7. GallupGallup, NM

Population: 22,105
Median Household Income: $44,768

Gallup ranks as the seventh 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 $127,700 and a median rent of $716.

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.

8. AlamogordoAlamogordo, NM

Source: Public domain

Population: 31,230
Median Household Income: $44,133

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 $110,800 and a median income of $44,133, Alamogordo enjoys the fifth best home price to income ratio in New Mexico.

Alamogordo also has historic ties to American space and military programs, which you can learn more about at the New Mexico Museum of Space History and White Sands Missile Range Museum respectively.

9. RatonRaton, NM

Population: 6,145
Median Household Income: $28,608

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 $570/month. But that’s not why it makes the cut — they can thank having the second lowest home prices in New Mexico ($85,000) 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.

10. ClovisClovis, NM

Population: 39,239
Median Household Income: $44,770

Rounding out our list of most affordable places to live in New Mexico is Clovis, one of the biggest cities in the east-central part of the state. At $126,600, Clovis is far from having the cheapest homes for sale in the state. However, when you consider the city’s median income of $44,770, Clovis get the seventh best deal on homes statewide. And whether you’re learning about your favorite musicians at the Norman and Vi Petty Rock & Roll Museum or about your favorite animals at Hillcrest Park Zoo, there’s loads to keep you busy in Clovis.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Land of Enchantment For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In New Mexico
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. 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 2014-2018 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 32 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 Lovington. 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 2020.

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in New Mexico according to the data:

  1. Taos
  2. Santa Fe
  3. Las Vegas

For more New Mexico reading, check out:

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.