The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Albuquerque

From the cost of living to the local job market, here’s what you can expect if you’re considering moving to Albuquerque.
Written by Melanie Mergen
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Aug 30, 2022
Many people move to Albuquerque for its low cost of living and picturesque surroundings. If you’re considering relocating here yourself, you’ll have to take these in stride with high local crime rates and congested traffic. 
Now New Mexico’s largest city, the Albuquerque area has been home to people hailing from dozens of Indigenous tribes, like the Navajo, Apache, and Comanche, for centuries, and today, it’s one of the country’s most diverse cities, as evidenced by its cultural festivals held throughout the year and its one-of-a-kind local food scene.
Courtesy of
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, here’s a look at some of the pros and cons that can come with relocating to ABQ. 

What you need to know about Albuquerque before you move

Albuquerque’s metro area, which spans over 188 square miles, is home to over one million people—could one of them soon be you? As you weigh your options, here are some things you should know about living in Albuquerque.
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1. There’s a low cost of living

Depending on where you’re moving from, you might be pleasantly surprised by the cost of living in Albuquerque. Depending on the data you’re looking at, living expenses in this city could be 4% to nearly 10% less expensive than the national average. 
When it comes to housing, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Albuquerque was $1,097 per month, which is substantially lower than the national average of about $1,770, according to
You could generally expect to spend anywhere from $3 to $5 for acup of coffee or about $5 on a pint of beer. On a grocery run, a loaf of bread could cost about $4, while a carton of a dozen eggs could cost about $3.
Average gas prices in Albuquerque were about $3.74, as of late August 2022, which was about ten cents under the national average.
As well, Albuquerque’s minimum wage is $11.50 an hour, and the 2020 Census showed that the city’s median income was $54,936.

2. Your job prospects might depend on your line of work

The range of job prospects that await you in Albuquerque will be heavily dependent on what sector you work in. A significant portion of Albuquerque’s workforce is employed by the government, with Sandia National Laboratories and Kirtland Air Force Base being in the area.
The University of New Mexico and local healthcare organizations are also significant local employers, and there’s a growing number of tech startups in the city. Additionally, thanks to certain tax incentives and incredible natural scenery to work with, Albuquerque also happens to be an increasingly popular spot for
film production

3. Violent crime has been on the rise, while property crime is on the decline

Albuquerque regularly ranks as having one of the highest crime rates in the United States. In recent years, the trends you’ll notice will vary depending on what kinds of crimes you’re looking at.
However, overall crime in Albuquerque has been on the decline over the last several years, according to data from the
Albuquerque Police Department
, especially when it comes to property crimes. From 2018 to 2021, motor vehicle thefts dropped from 6,896 reported incidents to 5,520
When it comes to crimes against persons from 2018 to 2021, aggravated assaults increased from 5,179 to 5,904, “non-negligent murder” incidents increased from 69 to 116, and “justifiable homicides” decreased from 16 incidents to 10.
At any rate, Albuquerque’s high property crime rates make it important to have the right amount of insurance coverage in place for your vehicle, home, and other belongings.

4. It’s one of the most diverse cities in the country

Albuquerque is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States. Over 60% of Albuquerque area residents are people of color, according to data from the
Albuquerque Regional Economic Alliance
. About 10% of residents were born outside the United States. 
Albuquerque residents are proud of its numerous heritages that contribute to its rich local culture, and there are plenty of festivals held year-round to celebrate them. 

5. Driving is sometimes the best transportation option

When compared with the rest of New Mexico, Albuquerque definitely has the most congested roadways. According to
traffic analysis, Albuquerque drivers spent 58 hours in rush hour traffic over the course of the year.
Still, compared to other major U.S. cities, it could be a lot worse. And considering Albuquerque spans over 188 square miles, driving in many cases will likely be your best transportation option.
Albuquerque’s fleet of
public buses
can also help you get to where you need to be, and more than once, Albueuquerque’s been named as one of the country’s most bikeable cities. 

6. Expect plenty of sunshine

Albuquerque transplants often enjoy the change in weather their new city offers. Albuquerque’s climate is dry, so most of the year there’s relatively low humidity and about 9 inches of annual rainfall—meaning you can expect plenty of bright, sunny days. At summer’s peak, you can expect temperatures to rise into the 90s.
Because Albuquerque sits at an elevation of over 5,000 feet above sea level, you’ll want to have sunscreen on hand year-round!
If you were hoping to entirely escape the snow, you actually won’t have much luck in Albuquerque. While it doesn’t typically get a lot of snow, it does get some—an average of about 11 inches per year. Winter temperatures can range from the twenties to the forties.

7. It’s a great option for outdoors lovers

Albuquerque is surrounded by breathtaking scenery and has hundreds of local public parks to enjoy it.
Rio Grande Nature Center State Park
Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway
Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge
, and
Rio Grande Valley State Park
are just a few picturesque locations you’ll have the privilege of living in close proximity to.
And when night falls, the Albuquerque area’s a great spot for
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Does Albuquerque live up to the hype?

If you’re looking for a city to call home with a relatively low cost of living and a lively local culture that’s also surrounded by gorgeous mountain views, Albuquerque might just be the place for you. However, you’ll have to take this in stride with some of the most congested traffic in the state and some of the nation’s highest crime rates.

Finding a place to live in Albuquerque

One of the most essential steps of moving to Albuquerque will be finding a place to live. While finding the right home in any city can be a challenge, Albuquerque’s low cost of living can make things a little easier.
According to
Zillow’s Home Value Index
, the average value of a home in Albuquerque was $315,564  as of July 2022. U.S. Census data from 2020 showed that the average homeowner with a mortgage spent $1,346 on homeownership costs.
As mentioned above, according to
analysis, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Albuquerque was $1,097, as of August 2022, compared to a national average of about $1,770. That’s a pretty significant difference! 
However, extra bedrooms can quickly drive up the price of your rent in Albuquerque. The average rent for a studio was $837, a two-bedroom apartment had an average rent of $1,583, and a three-bedroom apartment had an average cost upwards of $2,000
So, if you’re looking for a place to live in Albuquerque, there’s plenty of room for variation when it comes to how much your housing might cost. To help you narrow down your options, it’s a good idea to start by establishing what kind of budget you have to work with, then focusing on locations that offer you the kinds of amenities you’re looking for.
As you search for the right place for you to call home in Albuquerque, here are some neighborhoods worth looking into:
  • Most iconic neighborhoods: Historic Old Town, Downtown, Nob Hill
  • Best neighborhoods if you’ve got kids: Nob Hill, Eastside, Westside
  • Best neighborhoods for foodies: Nob Hill,South Valley/Barelas, Balloon Fiesta
  • Best neighborhoods to buy a house: Balloon Fiesta, Eastside, Westside
  • Most affordable neighborhoods: South Valley/Barelas, Uptown, Balloon Fiesta
If you’re able to, it’s a good idea to visit the neighborhoods you’re interested in for yourself—that way, you can get a more accurate sense of the atmosphere and whether it might be a good fit for you.
Pro Tip If you’re looking to cut down on your rent costs, consider finding a few roommates to share your apartment with.

Moving to Albuquerque checklist 

Once you’ve finally found the right place in Albuquerque to call home, it’s time to make things official and start the process of actually moving there.
Whether you’re moving from a nearby suburb or from all the way across the country, moves of any size will inevitably come with their own challenges. To help make your transition a little smoother, here are some items you’ll want to add to your Albuquerque moving checklist:

Before you go

Before you move to Albuquerque, you’ll want to make sure you: 
  • Find and book a reputable moving company
    —if you’re not sure where to start, check out these
    helpful tips
    from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration offers to find the right movers while avoiding moving scams.
  • Reserve a U-Haul
    if you’ll be moving your belongings yourself.
  • Inform important contacts
    that you’re moving, like your landlord, your employer, your insurance provider(s), and your utility provider(s).
  • If you’re moving across the country, consider whether
    shipping your car
    or driving it will be ideal for your situation.
  • Update your address and set up mail forwarding with
    so you don’t miss any important communications.
  • Make sure your new
    homeowners insurance policy
    will be active and ready to go once you’ve moved in. 

After you get there

In addition to unpacking and settling into your new space, there are just a couple more things you’ll want to take care of:
  • If you moved to Albuquerque from another state, you’ll need to
    re-register your car
    in California and
    update your insurance
  • Get to know Albuquerque! Check out all the local shops, restaurants, parks, and entertainment that Albuquerque has to offer, and enjoy your next chapter in your new home!

How to save on car, renters, and home insurance in Albuquerque

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