New Mexico Land for Sale
New Mexico is called the “Land of Enchantment.” The name is well suited. It is a state that showcases breathtaking landscapes, a deep heritage and a vibrant culture that cannot be matched by any other state in the country. From majestic snow-capped mountains looming more than 13,000 feet above sea level to heavy forests to beautiful desert vistas, New Mexico offers a variety of nature rivaled only by the diversity of people and cultures that live in the state.
New Mexico was granted statehood on January 6, 1912, as the 47th state. However, its past is rich with Native American and Hispanic tradition that predates the European influence that eventually penetrated the region. Human life had been present in New Mexico since 10,000 B.C., when Clovis-Paleo Indians took up residence in the area. By the time the Spanish arrived in the 1500s, a number of agrarian-based societies had developed in pueblo villages.
New Mexico is the fifth largest state, covering a land area of 121,593 square miles. Despite its size, it is just 36th in population, home to only 2,060,000 people. However, the people who reside in the state are from a great variety of cultures and races. The iconic Route 66 – also known as the Mother Road – winds through the state. It has been preserved to pay homage to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s that made this two-lane highway a major route for western migration. New Mexican terrain is featured in literally hundreds of movies, ranging in scope from prehistoric documentaries to futuristic science fiction and inspired the artistic talents of Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams.
New Mexico has unique topographical features that vary greatly from region to region. Though the ecological sections offer several different property types, they are united by their lack of precipitation. Rain is scarce and rapid evaporation claims a large share of what little rainfall the state gets. Investors may find land parcels throughout the state at prices as low as $250 per acre; however, an investment in New Mexican land should be weighed against water shortages, which arise regularly. Those interested in land for sale in New Mexico should note that although 41 percent of the state is publicly owned, there are plenty of opportunities in New Mexico.
In northern New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains create a majestic backdrop in the valleys, where shrubs and grasses are grazed on by the wildlife in the region. Douglas fir, Aspen, juniper, oak and ponderosa pine are common at low to medium altitudes throughout the southern Rockies, while alpine characteristics mark the high elevations.
New Mexico claims 7.2 million acres of this ecoregion, including the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges, as well as the Rio Grande, which has carved an intermountain valley between them over the course of millennia. The prevailing westward winds combined with the north-south orientation of the ranges combine to create a semiarid steppe climate.
Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico and is seated at the base of the southern Rocky Mountains. The city soars at an elevation of 7,199 feet above sea level, which is higher than any other capital in the United States. It is also the oldest continually inhabited state capital in the nation. Santa Fe is the fourth-largest city in the state and home to more than 68,000 people. Santa Fe favors the traditional look of adobe dwellings: An ordinance was passed mandating that all buildings must reflect pueblo architecture, which makes the city something of a visual time capsule.
Near Santa Fe, Los Alamos is the site of the first atomic explosion, which occurred on July 16, 1945, just two weeks before the technology was approved to be used against Japan and end World War II.
Land in the southern Rocky Mountain region is incredibly affordable at around $300 per acre, but investors will find that parcels near Santa Fe command higher prices. when it comes to land auctions online. It is common to find parcels near the state capital in the range of $5,000 per acre, which is still affordably priced.
The Colorado Plateau region is a vast ecoregion of the southwestern United States. The plateau ranges in elevation from 1,200 to 12,700 feet, covering 6.2 million acres in the northwest of New Mexico. The plateau is home to the Four Corners, where the borders of New Mexico meet with those of Arizona, Colorado and Utah. This is the only place in the nation where a person can simultaneously visit four states without moving his or her feet. The Colorado Plateau is a geological wonder that includes mesas, dunes, plains, buttes and mountains. There are large canyons throughout, which were carved over time by the currents of the San Juan River and its tributaries.
The plateau is a land that the Navajo, Ute, Southern Ute, Mountain Ute, Jicarilla Apache and Hopi Native American tribes traditionally call home. Today, however, the region has been industrialized. Navajo Mine, west of Farmington, is one of the world’s largest coal mining operations. Natural gas and oil are also hidden in the underground reaches of the Colorado plateau.
The Colorado Plateau is known for having a mild climate all year long. Low humidity, low average rainfall and mild temperatures combine to make the Colorado plateau a destination for outdoor activities. Mountain climbing, camping, fishing and hunting are all popular for locals and visitors of this region. At an elevation of 5,395 feet above sea level, Farmington is the principal city in the Colorado Plateau region of New Mexico. It is home to more than 46,000 people and features world-class cultural attractions. Farmington is located at the intersection of three rivers, making it a center for industrial operations, as well.
Land on the plateau is priced between $1,000 and $85,000 per acre. However, investors should be aware that the majority of this region is made of public and tribal lands. While there are parcels regularly available for purchase, large expanses of the plateau are reserved for public use.
Arizona-New Mexico Mountains
Sandwiched between the Colorado Plateau and the Apache Highlands in the west and stretching to the center of the state to the east is the Arizona-New Mexico mountain region. It is distinct, even among the other mountainous regions in the state. The peaks of the Arizona-New Mexico Mountains, which are among the oldest in the southwest, have lower elevations than their neighbors, reaching between 4,500 and 12,600 feet. The flora that grow in the mountain soil is associated with much warmer climes. The pine forests of the Southern Rockies yield to oak, ponderosa pine and pinyon-juniper, while savanna covers the lowlands.
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state, and it is located in the Arizona-New Mexico mountain region. Along with Rio Rancho and other cities within the Albuquerque metropolitan region, this region claims more than 43 percent of New Mexico’s population. Albuquerque is a crossroads of several ecological regions in the state, sharing traits of the Southern Rockies, the Arizona-New Mexico Mountains, the Shortgrass Prairies and the Chihuahuan Desert.
Due to the population boom of the Arizona-New Mexico mountain region, land here can be a bit pricier than elsewhere in the state. Parcels typically sell from $250 to more than $30,000 per acre, with higher prices demanded near the attractions of the cities.
The Chihuahuan Desert and Apache Highlands
The Chihuahuan Desert covers a large portion of northern Mexico, but tendrils reach like fingers into the states of Arizona and Texas, as well as New Mexico. In the Land of Enchantment, this desert engulfs the southern reaches of the state from the border of the Apache highlands to the Texas border. Broad basins and valleys mark the terrain, covered in oak and juniper forests and shrub or grasslands. The Chihuahuan Desert contains 53 different types of land cover in New Mexico alone, but many more exist in this diverse region.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a popular attraction of the Chihuahuan desert. Above, the majestic beauty of the desert manifests in canyons and slopes covered with cactus, thorny shrubs and grass. However, the real treasure lies beneath the surface. Visitors can trek more 870 feet underground in caves that formed more than 200 million years ago when sulfuric acid dissolved the limestone in the crevasses of the earth. There are 117 separate caves to explore stalagmites and stalactites. The White Sands National Monument, near Carlsbad, is the largest deposit of glistening white gypsum sand dunes in the world.
Las Cruces, the second-largest city in the state of New Mexico, is located in the Chihuahuan Desert region. Surrounded by cotton fields in the Mesilla Valley and the Rio Grande, Las Cruces is an unusual city in that it lacks a central business district. Instead, the historic downtown district is home to plenty of pedestrian attractions, including a shopping district.
In the southwest of New Mexico are 2.6 million acres of the Apache highlands, which completely engulfs the panhandle. Also extending into Arizona and Mexico, the Apache highlands are a collection of isolated mountain ranges separated by expanses of grass and scrublands between them.
Land in the Chihuahuan Desert and Apache Highlands is incredibly affordable. Some parcels are available for less than $100 per acre, but it is normal to find properties in this region around $1200 per acre.
The eastern third of New Mexico is dominated by more than 22.2 million acres of tablelands and plains that compose the Shortgrass Prairies. Unlike much of the other commercially farmed prairieland in the Midwestern United States, little of this region is suitable for raising crops. Due to its subhumid and semiarid conditions, diversity in this region is isolated to small pockets of land. Buffalo grasses of various types are common throughout the prairies, which provide sustenance to the bison and other grazing animals that live in the region.
Las Vegas, Nevada, is famous for casinos and a culture of hedonism, but it’s not the only city in the country to bear the name. Las Vegas, New Mexico, is a city with a more historical focus. The principal city of the Shortgrass Prairie region, Las Vegas has plenty to offer visitors: monuments, museums, castles and historic plazas. Additionally, the city is home to plenty of outdoor adventure, including hiking, fishing, winter sports and horseback riding. Northeast of Las Vegas is the city of Capulin and the Capulin Volcano National Monument. This monument is an extinct volcano, whose cone has been paved with a road. From the top of the volcano, travelers can clearly see into the neighboring states of Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado.
Land in the Shortgrass region is typically inexpensive, with parcels starting around $500 per acre. Some properties are valued upwards of $23,000 per acre, depending on their location and topography.
New Mexico Industry
During the early 1900s, New Mexico was heralded as a land of opportunity. Today, there remains an overwhelming sense of optimism and ability to reach the sky. Indeed, New Mexico is home to several thriving industries.
Despite the lack of water in the state, New Mexico is rich in natural resources. Minerals are found throughout the state, along with petroleum and natural gas. Zinc, lead, uranium, copper, gold, silver and molybdenum are mined in abundance, which contributes greatly to the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Manufacturing thrives in the state, as well, from food products and chemical production to machinery and stone products. However, energy research and manufacturing is a New Mexico specialty. Since 1945, the state has been a leader in the energy industry, with assistance from the resources provided by the Los Alamos Scientific and Sandia laboratories. Nuclear, geothermal and solar energies are continually tested and developed in New Mexico.
Livestock dominates New Mexico agriculture. Two-thirds of the state’s farming profit comes from dairy, cattle and other animal products. Crops of note include pecans, hay and onions. Corn, chili peppers, lettuce, peanuts and beans are also grown.
Tourism is another leading industry in New Mexico. Nearly one million people visit the state each year, supporting 55,000 jobs and more than $769 million in annual state income.
New Mexico has succeeded in casting its spell over millions of people with its culture, history and stark natural beauty. Come see why New Mexico is truly the Land of Enchantment.