A Look at the Rental Market of Santa Fe, New Mexico - PropertyBlawg

A Look at the Rental Market of Santa Fe, New Mexico

by JRO on December 28, 2013

New Mexico has become a very attractive place to live thanks to a variety of cultural phenomena. The recently concluded TV series, “Breaking Bad” was based in Albuquerque, which is also where legendary MMA trainer Greg Jackson has built a fighting empire. But if you head northeast from Albuquerque, you’ll find yourself in a city less famous for its Hollywood appeal but more famous for its livability. Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, is known for its beautiful natural landscapes. In addition to being a great destination for snowboarding, skiing, hiking or even biking; Santa Fe also offers a wide variety art galleries, historical artifacts, and fine dining. Not to mention that it is, by some accounts, the “oldest capital in the United States.”

What if you, like a growing number of people, want to set up a home in this diverse state capital? The following article is meant to provide a brief overview of the real estate market in Santa Fe, particularly the rental market.

Editor’s note – you can also view our best real estate attorneys guides here.

History and Trends

As you can imagine, one of the downsides of the city’s growing popularity has been a steady rise in home and rental prices. The local government and the Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) organization have implemented programs to prevent home prices from reaching astronomical levels. Santa Fe officials consider home ownership or local rental a top government priority not only to foster a diverse population in the city, but to also encourage “local living” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a large commuting population.

The rental market in Santa Fe is diverse depending, of course, upon your location and size requirements. Whether you want a sleek one-bedroom bachelor pad in the city center, a luxury three-bedroom next to a golf course, or a family-friendly community on the outskirts of town, Santa Fe’s distinctive neighborhoods have something to offer. A quick search on Zillow.com for rentals in New Mexico shows price ranges from $700 per month to $3,000 per month. According to a report issued by Santa Fe’s Office of Affordable Housing, “average market rents have increased almost 38 percent” since 2001. Today, an average two-bedroom apartment is approximately $882 per month excluding utilities.

The Future

What does the future hold for this market? The city of Santa Fe made affordable rental housing a key platform on its Five-Year Strategic Housing Plan launched back in 2007. Low rent is seen as a first step toward ownership as it allows tenants to save money toward a down payment for ownership. To achieve their goal, the City of Santa Fe worked with the New Mexico Housing Finance Authority to create tax credits for mixed-income rental developments. They also provided 10 percent of new home developments under the Santa Fe Homes Program to be donated to non-profits for use as rental properties, and they offered increased support to currently-operating rental properties. As a result, the current vacancy rate is well below 5 percent for rental properties in the city; there are reports of two-year waiting periods for public housing rentals.

With affordable rent at the center of a wide-ranging government initiative, there is likely to be sustained new rental construction. Despite the growth in population, a steady stream of supply will likely drive rent prices down. So if you’re looking for long-term rental in this vibrant city, this might just be the perfect time to settle in Santa Fe.


Vince Buchanan is a freelance writer primarily focusing on real estate. Though he often writes about markets in New Mexico, he also writes on Texas markets as well; to learn more about apartments in the San Antonio region visit The Richland Apts.

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