moving to new mexico

Moving to New Mexico

New Mexico gave birth to the atomic age and rumors of an alien visit, but it has also preserved some of the oldest pueblos in North America. People of all backgrounds—and possibly some from other planets—have gone to great lengths to visit, trade and even settle in the Land of Enchantment. Moving to New Mexico? The following tips will help you plan your move so it’s safe and efficient.

Moving Advice

Avoid moving during the hot summer months, July and August. Even in late spring and early fall, temperatures can soar, so make sure to take precautions against heat stroke and sunburn.

Always bring a pair of sunglasses when driving to combat glare on roads. Additionally, because some areas in New Mexico are sparsely populated, bring plenty of water, a first aid kit, a toolbox and a fully charged cell phone.

Whether you’re driving a moving truck or your car when moving to NM, have the radiator checked over, as well as all connecting hoses. If they’re worn down, these can crack in higher elevations. Also make sure your brakes are in good working order and all fluids are topped off.

You don’t need a moving permit when moving to New Mexico, but remember to check with your city for local parking restrictions, as well as possible festival or event dates.

When planning your route, check current road conditions with the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

No matter whether you’re driving your own vehicle or a moving truck, double-check to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage, as New Mexico has a relatively high percentage of DUIs and road safety is always an issue.

Don’t forget to change your address online with USPS before moving to NM.


Get Organized

Check out our downloadable planners and checklists.

Moving-out-for-the-first-time Checklist

Last-minute Moving Checklist

Move Planner


Cities and Metro Areas

No matter what your motivation is for moving to New Mexico, with its bustling cities and picturesque towns, you’re sure to find a location that fits your profession and lifestyle.

From businesslike and densely populated Albuquerque and elegant Santa Fe, to up-and-coming Rio Rancho and mysterious and calm Taos, New Mexico has a place for everyone.

Other metro areas to note are Clovis, the hub of local agriculture; Las Cruces, which depends heavily on government jobs as well as festival tourism; and Farmington, where people from across the south flock together for baseball tournaments.


Cost of Living

In comparison to the US average, the cost of living in New Mexico is 7.37 percent lower, which might not seem like much, but does mean you won’t be facing the high prices of a state like California or New York.

In the third quarter of 2011, New Mexico ranked twenty-first on the list of states with the highest cost of living. It’s interesting to note that property taxes here are lower than all but two other states, which is one of the reasons many retirees purchase homes here.

Even within the state, where you live makes a difference. The average home price in New Mexico is $210,800, but local differences can be significant.

For example, if you want to buy a home in Albuquerque, expect to pay around $134,900 for a two-bedroom and $176,000 for a three-bedroom home.



For years, people have been moving to New Mexico to enjoy the generally mild climate. The higher the elevation, the lower the temperature, but in general, the state has little precipitation with less than 15 inches a year. Summers are hot, with temperatures ranging from 97 degrees Fahrenheit in lower elevations to 78 degrees Fahrenheit at higher elevations. Winter temperatures average between 64 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on elevation. In some areas, winters even bring enough snow for skiing, so if you’re moving to NM, be sure to bring your winter gear with you!



Families and students moving to New Mexico should know it has a number of excellent educational institutions.

  • Elementary Schools: Three of the top-ranked elementary schools are North Star Elementary in Albuquerque, Mountain Elementary in Los Alamos, and Taos Municipal Charter in Ranchos de Taos.
  • High Schools: The top three high schools are Cottonwood Classical Prep and La Cueva High (both in Albuquerque), and Los Alamos High in Los Alamos.
  • Higher Education: When moving to NM to go to college, you can attend the University of New Mexico or New Mexico State University. Specialized curricula are offered at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro.



When moving to New Mexico, check the state’s user-friendly website that contains reliable information for visitors, residents and businesses.

  • No moving permits are required, but it’s a good idea to check parking regulations in the major cities before moving to NM.
  • New Mexico imposes a three-percent excise tax the first time you title your car in the state.
  • There are no toll roads in New Mexico, though there has been talk of potential tolls in the Albuquerque area.
  • You can obtain your voter registration at your local county clerk’s office, but it’s easier to simply register to vote at the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division when you apply for your driver’s license.
  • Each city or metro area has its own Waste Management or Environmental Services Department that handles trash and recycling. Contact your city for more information.
  • You’re required to apply for a New Mexico driver license within 30 days of moving to NM. Costs are $16. While you’re at the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division, you should also register your vehicle within 30 days. Fees are based on the year, model and weight of your vehicle, and range from $27 to $62 for a one-year registration. It costs $5.50 for the title and $5 for any lien recording.