Move From California to New Mexico

Move From California To New Mexico

The stark beauty of New Mexico is a source of artistic inspiration, which is why you will find plenty of artists living in New Mexico. You will also see signs of some of the giants of the art world who have spent time in New Mexico. The most famous example is, of course, Georgia O’Keefe.

New Mexico will also give you a chance to immerse yourself in history. A good place to start is Bandelier National Monument, where you can see signs of human habitation dating from 11,000 years ago. Petroglyphs and cliff dwellings will give you a glimpse into the lives of some of New Mexico’s first residents.

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60 Second Relocation Assessment

Moving Advice

  • Avoid moving during the hot summer months, July and August. Even in late spring and early fall, temperatures can soar. If you cannot avoid moving in the summer, be sure to take precautions against heat stroke and sunburn.
  • The roads can put off quite a glare. Sunglasses can help combat this problem.
  • Many areas in New Mexico are sparsely populated, so bring plenty of water, a first aid kit, a toolbox and a fully charged cell phone.
  • Have the radiator checked and filled before making the journey. Some of New Mexico reaches higher elevations, which can cause pressure and will crack already weak hoses.
  • 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.
  • Check current road conditions with the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

Change your address online. To make your move from California to New Mexico easier, consider changing your address online. It is easy to do, inexpensive, and will ensure that your mail arrives to your new home with you.

Cities and Metro Areas

Known as the “Land of Enchantment,” New Mexico offers residents breathtaking views, colorful scenery and vibrant culture. Albuquerque is businesslike and densely populated while Santa Fe’s gorgeous landscape makes the city a romantic destination. Los Alamos is a top spot for outdoor enthusiasts as it has more than 120 hiking and biking trails, and residents enjoy easy access to the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area. Las Cruces’ economy is grounded by big industries making it a great destination if you are looking for a career change.

Other metro areas to note are Clovis, the hub of local agriculture 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. Property taxes are lower than all but two other states, which is one of the reasons many retirees purchase homes in New Mexico. Much of New Mexico enjoys the low cost of living, but this is less so in Albuquerque. Overall, the cost of living in Albuquerque is rated as one percent higher than the national average but four percent lower than the national average for urban areas. Healthcare is one percent above the nation as well. Groceries, utilities, and transportation are all a few points below average.

Home prices in New Mexico have appreciated 191.8% higher than the national level. Looking back three years at the median price in October 2019 compared to October 2022, prices have increased 48.4% in New Mexico VS 35.8% nationwide.   As of October 2022, the median price for a home in the state was $362,000, which is up 14.3% above last year’s median price.


New Mexico enjoys a generally mild climate. The higher the elevation, the lower the temperature, but in general, the state has little rain. 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.


Families and students moving to New Mexico should know it has a number of excellent educational institutions. Current school rankings (elementary, middle and high schools), campus and district zoning/location maps, information and reviews are available online for parents moving to New Mexico:

  • 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 New Mexico 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 New Mexico.
  • 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 are required to apply for a New Mexico driver license within 30 days of moving to New Mexico. While you’re at the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division, you should also register your vehicle within 30 days.
  • For more tax information visit