Can you imagine singing, “I’m walking on Sunshine” all the year round and literally enjoying a weather that encourages outdoor activities all year long? A city that has everything that you would look for to live a fuller life – rich and vibrant culture, family entertainment, recreation, festivals, dining and shopping. If that’s not enough Albuquerque enjoys sunshine 310 days a year. Now, isn’t that something to love and look forward to? At the same time though, you have to be aware of some of the practical aspects which will help you understand whether moving to Albuquerque is for you. So read on to know more.
What Should I know Before Moving To Albuquerque?
Albuquerque is a vibrant and exciting city in New Mexico, where you can enjoy amazing sunshine, visit world class museums and relish New Mexican cuisines. But that’s not all. It is a beautiful city that offers a plethora of opportunities for you to live life in all its grandeur. Albuquerque, New Mexico was included among 2019’s top 100 Best Places to live by livibility.com. The city has a population of above 640,000 people.
Another thing worth noting is that Albuquerque is fairly cosmopolitan, with English as the primary language and a large part of the audience speaking Spanish because of their Hispanic origins. Asian, Black, Caucasian and American Indians also form the population mix. As the 32nd largest city in the United States, with over half a million residents, its average age range is 36 years and most of its residents are families. Here’s a cool trivia – Albuquerque is famous for its largest gathering of hot air balloons in the world, which is known as the International Balloon Fiesta.
The city of Albuquerque dates back to about 2,000 B.C., with centuries of history that has shaped the very fabric of this city. It has been a home to Native Americans in this area for thousands of years. By the time Europeans found this city, the Pueblo people had already developed advanced and sophisticated skills in masonry, arts and crafts and ceramics, which are still a part of the New Mexican culture and are prevalent today.
Spanish explorers came to this city in 1540 and built a city along the banks of Rio Grande and named it in honor of the Duke of Albuquerque back in Spain. Albuquerque is steeped in Native American tradition and has the best hiking trails ever. Hike trails, fishing, camping, hunting, hot air ballooning, skiing and snowboarding are some of the activities that you can enjoy in Albuquerque.
Crime Rate in Albuquerque
Albuquerque was named by Safewise as one of the 10 most dangerous cities in the United States, with a crime rate of almost 71 per one thousand residents. What that means – the chances of you becoming a victim of any kind of crime is 1 in 14, which is quite distressing. Central Ave, which is known as the War Zone, is infamous for its gang violence and other criminal activities. You could do better by avoiding this area altogether.
To give you some more perspective, Albuquerque’s crime rate is 3.5 times more than the national average. If you have to know, then the safer and affordable neighbourhoods to live in Albuquerque are Bear Canyon, Huning Castle, Nob Hill, Taylor Ranch and Ventana Ranch. Albuquerque’s violent crime rate is 51.0, whereas the national average is 22.7. Similarly, the property crime rate in Albuquerque is 85.3, as compared to the national average of 35.4.
The weather is usually dry, clear and sunny all year round with temperatures that vary from 27 degrees F to 93 degrees F and is rarely below 18 degrees F or above 99 degree F.
If you are someone who likes to pursue warm weather outdoorsy activities, then late May to September is the best time to be in Albuquerque. Mind you the summers can get fairly hot in here, but still tolerable, depending on which part of the country you’re used to. The season lasts for 3.7 months with its hottest day usually coming in somewhere in July.
In contrast, Winters here are biting cold and short, and summers, with the season usually lasting for 2.9 months. In case you were wondering, the coldest day of winter comes somewhere in January. Because of the low humidity, even when temperatures rise, summer is always comfortable and the summers are comparatively mild. The average rainfall is about 9 inches and the average relative humidity is only 44 percent.
Is It Expensive To Live In Albuquerque?
Albuquerque is one of the least expensive cities to live in with an average monthly expenses of $1,500. To be specific, it actually is the 2nd cheapest city in the United States to live in. Do note that the local sales tax rate in Albuquerque is 7.8750%, with the income tax rate ranging between 1.7% to 4.7%, depending on the income bracket.
Cost of Living Albuquerque
Albuquerque’s cost of living is 4% higher than the New Mexico average and the cost of living is 5% lower than the national average. Albuquerque has favourably located amenities and greater access to essential services like grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops.
If we were to itemize it for you, a basic lunchtime menu including a drink in the business district could cost you $14 and a combo meal from a fast food joint could be around $7. If you went out shopping for basic staples like chicken, eggs or milk, then you could look at $0.80 for a litre of whole milk, $1.44 for a kg of potatoes, $2.83 for a dozen large eggs and $2.10 for a bread for 2 people a day.
Renting a House
An average 1 bedroom home’s monthly rent could set you back by a price of $730 approximately. In a range of $700 to $1000, you could easily have a variety of options to choose from. And yet that would depend on whether the accommodation that you are looking for is furnished or not and is in which area or locality. For renting a house, you would have to shell out the first month, last month, and security deposit that is equal to one month’s rent. But the thing to remember is that in Albuquerque and all of New Mexico, there is no limit to how much a landlord may charge for the deposit.
Buying A House
Similarly, the home price to income ratio is 3.9, which is 11.4% higher than the New Mexico average. Now you may also want to know if housing is affordable in Albuquerque. Well, the average price of buying a house in Albuquerque is around $239,548, which is definitely higher than the average of New Mexico.
If you were 2 people moving in a 85m2 flat, then your utilities (heating, electricity, gas) could cost you $121. And utilities (heating, electricity, gas) for a month in a 45m2 studio could cost you $139. Internet (8mbps) for a month could cost you $47 and an hourly rate of cleaning help could charge you $17. 8mbps Internet will cost you $47.
The largest public flagship university in the state, University of New Mexico is situated in Albuquerque. This university includes a School of Medicine which was ranked in the top 50 primary care-oriented medical schools in the country. There are approximately 143 public schools in Albuquerque. All the same, you will also find many other state supported institutions like New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, and Western New Mexico University in Silver City.
Albuquerque Economy and Employment Opportunities
Job growth in Albuquerque has been positive and has seen an increase by about 3.3%. Naturally, Albuquerque’s unemployment rate has also reduced (1.2%) over the years, so it may be quite a positive move to settle in Albuquerque. Just so you know, the median household income in Albuquerque is approximately $47,413.
Agriculture and Mining are the two main industries and opportunities in New Mexico. Industrial activities like food processing, petroleum refining, smelting and the manufacture of electronic components, communications equipment, furniture and construction materials are all centred in Albuquerque. New Mexico also carries out research in Energy and Nuclear Weapons at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Sandia National Laboratories which are located in Albuquerque.
Tourism is another big industry in Albuquerque. Millions of visitors and residents flock to Albuquerque to see the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, one of the highest ballooning festivals in the world, that takes place in early October. Another large industry that is confined to this state is the mining, smelting and petroleum industry. New Mexicans have to pay some of the world’s lowest per capita tax rates in the United States.
The top industries in Albuquerque include Aerospace and Defense, Energy Technology including solar energy and semiconductor and computer chip manufacturing. Major players in Albuquerque are Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratory and Intel Corp. All these industries provide the majority of jobs in the city.
Getting Around In Albuquerque
1.Bus Service – ABQ Ride
Bus is the best way to get around Albuquerque. ABQ RIDE operates throughout the city, which is affordable and offers seamless transports between neighbourhoods. Most buses operate between 6am to 6pm and some run even later than that. You can get passes for buses that can get you unlimited rides for one day. You can buy them on the bus itself.
A day pass will cost you $2, a one way pass will cost you $1. If you are a student or senior citizen then it’s 35 cents. Similarly, a month long pass will cost you $30 and $12 if you are a student or senior citizen, and a 3 month pass will cost students and seniors about $75 and $30. The main mode of transport in the city is by bus and you can use the ABQRIDE app to check for schedules, delays, cancellations etc.
2. Bus Service – ART
Bolstering the already existing RIDE, is the Albuquerque Rapid Transport (ART) which is a 10-mile service in dedicated lanes throughout the city centre. You can even explore the suburbs on foot. You can also access Uber and Lyft 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Albuquerque.
While ABQRIDE does provide accessibility to people with disability, Sun Van Paratransit is also a service that provides accessible transportation to people who need assistance. Fares are quite similar to the fixed route buses. Although, some planning and filling an application is needed. You would also need to make reservations.
3. Train Service In Albuquerque
From Belen to Santa Fe, you have the New Mexico Rail Runner service. It is used a lot by locals for their daily commutes to work. Since the rail services are more commuter specific, the time period of 5am to 9am and 4pm to 7pm are peak hours and congested. The rest of the time, you can avail the services, but then it may not be as regular. Local buses also accept train transfers to cover the whole of the city. All it costs is $2 for you to travel between one of the six zones. Seniors, students, youth, medicare card holders and people with disabilities can get discounted rates.
Best Neighbourhoods To Live In Albuquerque
Huning Castle, Nob Hill, Taylor Ranch, North Valley, are some of the best, safer and affordable places to live in Albuquerque.
1. Nob Hill
On the stretch of the iconic Route 66, lies the vibrant and eclectic neighbourhood of Nob Hill. Dotted with food trucks that serve you till late in the night, Nob Hill is also home to several hookah bars, swanky diners, chic hotspots, dance clubs and music bars, and galleries that exhibit contemporary artworks. Nob Hill is a unique neighbourhood that developed between the 1920s and 1950s. It is also home to many historic places on the National Register. The famous Route 66 runs through the entire length of Albuquerque and is today known as Central Avenue. Neon signages everywhere will remind you of the days gone by.
Today, Nob Hill is one of the most sought-after places to live in the city with its condos and upscale housing. But there was a time when it was the mainstay of college students and single family homes.
Median home value: $303,478
Average market rent: $1,000/month
2. Huning Castle
Huning Castle is famous for its walk friendly nature and the charming residential vibes. Driving is the best way to get around in this neighbourhood and repeat reviews of residents have mentioned that it is a breeze parking in Huning Castle. However, bus lines are few and it is not very commuter friendly. It is a quiet neighbourhood with a lot of well laid out green spaces for that leisurely stroll. You will most likely find single detached homes which are most prominent, and the rest are apartments with two and three bedroom homes catering to the large vocational population.
Median home value: $224,200
Average market rent: $989/month
3. Taylor Ranch
Taylor Ranch is a minimally walkable and somewhat bikeable residential area in Albuquerque. If you ask us, it would be good to have a car in this neighbourhood. The area is dotted with many parks, including the Petroglyph National Movement. Taylor Ranch is surrounded by the Petroglyph Monument in the West, the Rio Grande river to the east, Paseo del Norte to the north and Ladera Heights to the west. Most homes in the Taylor Ranch area are modest in size. Some of its areas offer beautiful views of the city and mountains.
Median home value: $170,000
Average market rent: $1,077/month
4. North Valley
One of the safer and best places to live in Albuquerque. With a significantly low crime rate, North Valley is a neighbourhood that consists of large homes, farm fields, horse stables and middle class families. It is a sparse neighbourhood and does not necessarily give a suburban feel, where most residents own their own homes. This area has an older population and relatively older infrastructure. Note that North Valley has access to many ice hiking and walking paths as well. So it is a perfect example of how country meets city life. Many residents here work as farmers and there is also a significant population which is blue collared. It is more stable and wealthier than the South Valley. Interestingly, Deer, Porcupines and other wildlife are abundant here.
Median home value: $360,000
Average market rent: $818/month
Is Albuquerque A Good Place To Live?
Albuquerque sits in the desert with a historical heritage and home to Native Americans for hundreds and thousands of years. The city might not be suited to those coming from glitzier cities like Seattle, New York or Austin, but it has its charms. You can take a stop for its gorgeous sunny weather or its very famous and eye catching Balloon Fiesta, which is quite literally one of a kind. The crime rate here is less than desirable, which is a vital point to consider. But Albuquerque is a great place for outdoor activities. So moving to Albuquerque would make sense for those who are free spirited and seeking a fairly modern but quieter existence.