White Sands National Monument: What You Need to Know

New Mexico is full of some pretty spectacular national wonders, but White Sands National Monument is one of the most beloved by both tourists and locals. This is one of the most stunning landscapes in the state, and it’s just a half and hour’s drive southwest of Alamogordo. Situated in the Tularosa Basin, a northern offshoot of the Chihuahua Desert, and surrounded by rugged mountain on all sides, White Sands National Monument is full of gleaming white gypsum sand.

These sands comprise some 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live there. The monument was established in 1933, and it is completely surrounded by military installations. This creates an interesting tension; the monument and nearby military professionals have a difficult relationship, as errant missiles would often fall on the monument. In the past, they have even destroyed visitor areas. However, an accident has not occurred in several decade.

White Sands National Monument also has an interesting relationship with the U.S. government. In January of 2008, two New Mexico Senators wrote letters of support for the site’s application to become a World Heritage Site. This, however, generated a lot of controversy in the area; if White Sands Monument receives the designation, there is likely to be outside pressure to halt the nearby military operations. Similarly, in May of 2018, another Senator introduced a bill to designate White Sands as a national park. The bill is widely supported, but several Otero County commissioners oppose the bill because it will increase area regulation.

Regardless of White Sands National Monument’s history as a point of tension, it is part of what makes New Mexico such an interesting state. Gypsum rarely occurs as sand because it is water-soluble; rain often dissolves gypsum, and rivers then carry it to the sea. However, the Tularosa Basin has no outlet to the sea, so it traps rain that dissolves gypsum. The rainwater sinks into the ground, which forms shallow pools that subsequently dry out. Over time, this process has created dunes as high as sixty feet. If you’re visiting or considering moving to the state, White Sands National Monument is a must-see natural wonder.  


Santa Fe Named 4th Top City in the United States

Travel + Leisure Magazine has named Santa Fe the 4th Top City in the United States for 2018, making this the third year in a row in which the city has appeared in the Top 5. The awards are based on a survey of the magazine’s 300,000 readers, who represent people who love to travel. The top five cities this year, including our own state capital, included Charleston, South Carolina, New Orleans, Louisiana, Savannah, Georgia, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and New York City.

Santa Fe consistently ranks high in the annual voting as a top destination for travelers. Travel + Leisure did the survey in conjunction with M&RR, a national research firm. Magazine readers were invited to fill out a survey online, the answers of which were tallied into a final score based on reader experiences related to things like sights and landmarks, culture, food, value, shopping, and friendliness. This year’s survey took place between November 6, 2017 and March 5, 2018. All award winners, including Santa Fe, will appear in the August 2018 print edition of the magazine.

On this outstanding achievement, Randy Randall, the Executive Director of TOURISM Santa Fe, said, “We’re honored to be recognized year after year by the travel-savvy readers of Travel + Leisure, and feel that it reflects Santa Fe’s commitment to provide a truly authentic experience for people interested in culture, history, the arts, cuisine, one-of-a-kind shopping, the outdoors, rejuvenation, and wellness.” He continued, stating that “the Santa Fe community works incredibly hard every day to make this a reality.”

So, there you have it. Not only is New Mexico an excellent place to live, but our capital city is one of the best in the nation. Santa Fe is also one of the Top 10 Cities for Historic Preservation and has an excellent livability ranking. If this isn’t enough to convince you to check this place out, we’re not sure what is.


Balloon Fiesta: What You Need to Know

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, known colloquially as “Balloon Fiesta,” is one of our favorite state festivals. This is a yearly hot air balloon event that takes place during early October—just after peak tourist season and just before the cold weather kicks in. This is a must-see event for anybody with even a casual interest in our beautiful state.

Balloon Fiesta began as a small gathering of 13 hot air balloons in 1972. Since then, it has grown to become the largest balloon event in the world, now attracting almost 600 balloons and over 1,000 pilots. The first gathering was held in the parking lot of Coronado Center Mall in Albuquerque, but the event quickly caught national attention; the following year, thirteen countries took part in the “First World Hot Air Balloon Championship,” which was held at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. Just four years after the event’s inception, the city of Albuquerque hosted 273 balloon entries. In 2000, Balloon Fiesta organizers registered over 1,000 balloons.

Hundreds of thousands of guests from around the world visit Balloon Fiesta each year. In addition to offering spectacular views of hot air balloons dotted across the Albuquerque horizon, the event now offers several unique events. The festival offers a car show, the AIBF Chainsaw Carving Invitational and Demonstrations, Laser Light Shows, live music, fireworks displays, and several panels and Q&A sessions.

If you visit New Mexico for Balloon Fiesta, book your flights and hotels (or Air Bnbs!) in advance—though the event takes place outside of peak tourism season, it still draws a massive crowd. Once you’re settled, be sure to catch a Mass Ascension (they happen every morning) and the Nigh Magic Glow, where each balloon is illuminated against the diminishing sunset. Tickets are surprisingly affordable—General Admission is just $10 per session. Music Fiesta tickets cost a bit more, and you will have to pay to access dining areas. In all, this inexpensive annual event is a necessary visit for any fan of our beautiful state.


New Mexico Tourism and the Best Times to Visit

If you’re thinking about investing in New Mexico real estate, you should spend a few days getting to know our beautiful state. If you don’t have plans to live here, well, you should still visit—this gorgeous, unique place has something to offer everybody. However, if you’re planning a trip, you should aim to visit during certain parts of the year.

Each year, the New Mexico Department of Tourism releases its annual survey of visits to the state. 2016 saw one million more visits than 2015, bringing the total annual visitation to 24.4 million (up 3% from 2015). This growth was twice the national average and is likely due to increased knowledge about the state’s attractions, New Mexico residents traveling more within the state, and a greater desire to vacation “off the beaten track.” That year, White Sands National Monument’s visitation rate increased by 12%, and the Chaco Culture National Historical Park saw an increase of 39%.

All of this is to say: tourism is healthy in New Mexico. A lot of people want to visit, and they often come to see similar sights. As a result, you may want to plan your trip around when these tourists will not be here; if you’re flirting with the idea of moving here, you’ll want to experience the state “as a local”–not as part of a socks-and-sandals-clad throng.

New Mexico’s tourist season peaks in the summer—when temperatures are the highest. Summer temperatures rest between the high 50s and the high 80s, making this an excellent time to experience the desert. However, this swell in interest makes hotel rates high and availability low, and you are unlikely to see expensive rooms, a lack of discounts, and, well, few New Mexican people out on the town.

Autumn is the best time to visit New Mexico—specifically between September and November. Temperatures are still warm (often between the high 30s and high 70s), tourism season has ended, and you’ll be able to grasp what it means to live in New Mexico. This is also peak festival season, and exploring events like Balloon Fiesta is something every native and non-native New Mexican has to experience.

Winter is also an excellent time to visit the state, especially if you’re here to ski. Don’t be fooled—winter temperatures reach highs in the mid-40s, so remember to dress appropriately. To that end, no matter when you visit, always remember to bring sunscreen; the sun can be very intense, even in the winter months. If you have any questions about visiting New Mexico, let us know! We’d be happy to help.

What You Need to Know About the New Mexico Real Estate Market

The purpose of this site is to highlight the incredible experience of living in New Mexico. Though this often includes certain cultural touchstones and visiting information, we are, first and foremost, a group of realtors, investors, and homeowners. If you’re thinking about having a relationship with New Mexico in any long-term or permanent capacity, you’ll eventually need to understand our state’s real estate market. We can help you out.

In the past few years, New Mexico home values have increased dramatically—8.6% from 2017 to 2018. Though the state’s home value growth often sits just below the national average, the Realtors Association of New Mexico is confident in the market’s health; a press release from April, 2018 reported 40% more sales in the April of 2018 and in April of 2017. The median home value sits at around $187,300, the median price of homes currently listed is $220,000, and the median rent price is $1,200.

This unprecedented growth comes in the wake of a mass exodus by New Mexico residents. Between 2010 and 2016, more than 53,000 people moved out of New Mexico than moved in. Of those who moved into the state, most were between the ages of 25 and 29 or 60 and older—likely Millennials looking for inexpensive housing and Baby Boomers retiring to the beautiful countryside. Susana Martinez, the Governor of New Mexico, cited a stagnant economy and lack of job opportunities as potential reasons for the migration.

However, prior to this six-year period, New Mexico was the nation’s fastest-growing state by population, increasing its population by 13% between 2000 and 2010. As a result, tracking New Mexico real estate trends can be difficult; periods of extreme demand and extreme rarity make the state—its popular suburbs, in particular—difficult to predict. We can say now, however, that New Mexico currently has a buyer’s market. There are more residents selling than those buying, and you’re likely to get a better deal on a home.

Places To Move In Northern New Mexico For Ultimate Snow Fun

Many people will find themselves wanting to move at one point or another. Some will end up having to move to states like New Mexico, and it may be a bit deceptive. People assume that New Mexico is a desert state without a lot of the luxuries that other states may have. But if you look at Northern New Mexico, you’re going to be absolutely surprised. The ski and snowboarding that exists throughout the state, especially in the north is second to none, and could very well change how you view moving to the state. Whether you’re moving for work, or for fun, you may want to know a few things about where to live for the winter sports, and action sports alike. The following are just a few ideas as to where to move.

The Big City

If you’re going to move to New Mexico, you may want to move to Albuquerque. The reason why is simple, you’re going to be somewhat close to Sandia Peak. This is a resort that has low cost lift tickets, and 125 inches of annual snowfall, with upwards of 39 trails throughout the winter. This resort community will absolutely thrill, and since it’s near the big city, and major airport, you’re going to be centrally located.

Santa Fe (Ski Santa Fe/Lake Peak)

Another great city to check out, albeit a bit smaller than the previous option is that of Santa Fe. There’s a lot to look for here, but you’re going to be in close proximity of Ski Santa Fe and Lake Peak. This is a locale that features 225 inches of snowfall annually, and upwards of 83 different trails to consider. If you’re going to move to New Mexico for the ski and snowboard season, this is a great destination near a lot of jobs, and of course winter sports.


The next option that you’ll no doubt want to look into is that of Taos. This area is a bit smaller in comparison to the other two on this list, but it is near Taos Ski Valley. This area has upwards of 305 inches of snow annually, and has over 110 trails to explore. If you want more adventure, you may check out Wheeler Peak, or Lobo Peak, as well as Pueblo Peak, all nearby. Taos is a city that is smaller than the larger areas of New Mexico, but the proximity to incredible ski resorts, and mountain runs makes it a premier solution to check out for those that want a bit of adventure.


Ideas For Where To Stay On Your Northern New Mexico Vacation

Thinking about visiting New Mexico for the amazing snow resorts? Are you a big fan of snowboarding, skiing, and all things mountain sports? Then you’ll no doubt want to set your next vacation destination to Northern New Mexico, as it is one of the premier options to consider in regard to winter sports. If you’ve never traveled to this area, you may want to look into the many different places to stay. There are several options that you can pursue, including hotels, rental properties, and of course Air BnB. Which is best for you? Consider a few notes below that may help you out.

Hotels and Resorts

The first option that you will want to look into is that of resorts and hotels that are near the snow areas. There are a lot of options to explore with luxury solutions starting at around $150 per night. These are 4 to 5 star lodgings, mind you, so the price tag may be a bit more than the average motel. There are a lot of different locations in Red River, Taos, Santa Fe, Angel Fire, and more. These options are a bit higher priced, but they are worthwhile since they are close to where you’re going ski and snowboard, and will have amenities that other locales may not have. Some options are well received, historic, and resorts that are highly sought after.

Rental Properties and Time Shares

If you’re a fan of going to New Mexico often, then you may want to rent a property for a time, or even purchase a time share. Both of these options will cost you a bit more than a hotel in theory. However, you may be able to stay in a locale for a long period of time. For instance, if your goal is to stick around the winter for a few months, skiing and snowboarding often, then this makes sense. You may pay a week, or a month, or perhaps dues in the case of a rental property, but you get full control of the property, and you’ll be able to have a bit more privacy than with hotels and resorts. You are in control with these options.

Air BnB

Have you heard of this new way to rent options? This is a solution that lets you rent rooms, homes, and more within the northern New Mexico resort areas. You can get a cabin, an apartment, a large home, or just a room, it’s up to you. This is an option that is lower cost than other solutions, and is a bit more “personal” than going with other rental options.

At the end of the day, you’ll want to explore each option based on price, and proximity to the resort you want to ski and snowboard at. That’s going to determine the bigger picture here.