Santa Fe, New Mexico: Where The Luxury Home-Buying Dollar Goes Far

Santa Fe, New Mexico, is one of those places everyone seems to love. From the classic adobe-style architecture to art galleries to fine dining and numerous museums, including the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, Santa Fe and its clear blue skies is a fun city to visit. It’s because of its rich culture that many decide to buy a home there.

With a population of around 135,000, the Santa Fe County metro area offers the best of big-city sophisticated living with a small-town community vibe, and it’s a place where the luxury home-buying dollar goes far compared to California and other second-home markets in the U.S.

outdoor living area and swimming pool at a luxury santa fe home at 1114 Calle Conejo

Located in the private enclave of Valle Conejo, this Santa Fe residence frames expansive city, sunset and mountain views. It is currently pending with an asking price of $3.125 million (LISA HINSON FOR BARKER REALTY).

Santa Fe has long been known for being a lively creative community. With more than a hundred galleries, restaurants, and boutiques, Canyon Road is the City’s center for art, food, and social gatherings. The internationally recognized Santa Fe Opera, with its state-of-the-art open-air theater, draws opera buffs from around the globe. Four seasons and good weather means year-round outdoor activities abound, including hiking, rafting, fishing, and skiing.

santa fe luxury home living room with plaster walls and saltillo tile floors on calle conejo

A vibrant art culture is often reflected in the homes that make up Santa Fe. This single-level Adobe-style home at 1114 Calle Conejo features plaster walls and beautiful Saltillo tile floors (LISA HINSON FOR BARKER REALTY).

In terms of real estate, Santa Fe’s luxury market has seen strong demand over the last year, surprising even longtime locals. Kyle Klain, the chief operating officer at Barker Realty, Santa Fe’s leading residential brokerage, talks luxury today. “We have seen unbelievable levels of demand over the last year. We are looking at 20 percent appreciation and multiple offers on properties at all price points.”

view of the mountains from the Santa Fe home of novelists Jonathan and Faye Kellerman

Views of the Sangre, Jemez and Sandia mountain ranges sit in the backdrop of the Santa Fe home of novelists Jonathan and Faye Kellerman. The 5,400-square-foot home is currently pending sale with an asking price of $2,224,500 (VIRTUANCE FOR BARKER REALTY).

Elegant Adobe-style architecture punctuated by high ceilings, arched doorways, hand-crafted plaster walls and rough-hewn beams are hallmarks of the “traditional” Santa Fe style. Outside spaces are resort-like with swimming pools, courtyards with fountains, and mountain views. Given the local art scene, an artist’s studio or guest house on the property is often on numerous buyer must-have lists.

living room inside the santa fe new mexico home of novelists jonathan and faye kellerman

High ceilings, hand-crafted plaster walls and rough-hewn beams are among features of the Kellerman’s residence. The property is where the novelists wrote many of their bestsellers (VIRTUANCE FOR BARKER REALTY).

Mark Banham, an associate broker at Barker Realty, has sold homes in Santa Fe for 25 years and worked many market cycles. This one is “unlike any other,” according to Banham. “Our luxury market (properties in the million-plus range) is not usually strong until the fourth quarter. However, that all changed last June, and sales have not stopped.”

adobe style home on top of a hill in santa fe new mexico at 148 Barranca Road

This “top-of-the-world” location in the exclusive Sierra Del Norte subdivision listed for $2.595 million and is currently pending (VIRTUANCE FOR BARKER REALTY).

Santa Fe has long attracted second- and third-home buyers from California. Now, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Washington and even the East Coast as the source of more and more incoming buyers, Klain details. “Typically, our large feeder market was California. Now I’m selling property to second-home buyers and some who are moving here as their primary residence to people from New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Florida.”

Santa Fe follows this year’s national trend of multiple offers and sales that often exceed the asking price. Banham has seen overzealous buyers waive inspection and appraisal contingencies. Banham believes in full disclosure. “I’ve told some buyers that I want them to understand they are overpaying for a property.”

rustic living room inside 148 Barranca Road Santa Fe, NM

Once a favorite of California, Colorado and Texas homebuyers, Santa Fe is now seeing interest from East Coast buyers (VIRTUANCE FOR BARKER REALTY).

Days on market, which is used as a key indicator for most luxury markets, has fallen dramatically for luxury Santa Fe properties. “We were used to seeing high-end homes take two to six months to sell. Now that’s down to less than 30 days,” Banham reports.

According to Barker Realty’s latest Q2 2021 Market Digest, the Santa Fe County Residential Market Report days on market decreased to 35 days compared to 61 in March. Inventory was down 48% in June 2021 when compared to a year ago.

outdoor mountain views at a santa fe luxury home at 148 Barranca Road Santa Fe, NM large-lot estates take in expansive views of the surrounding mountains. Equally spectacular are the Santa Fe sunsets (VIRTUANCE FOR BARKER REALTY).

“I think Santa Fe is one of those places people tell themselves they would love to move to. What happened is between being able to work remotely and realizing moving to your dream place is something you shouldn’t wait to do is what the pandemic has taught us,” Banham said.

For Santa Fe sellers that’s good news. For Santa Fe buyers, here’s an idea of what prices look like in 2021.

trey Jordan-designed contemporary home located on the historic eastside of Santa Fe

This Trey Jordan-designed contemporary on the Historic Eastside of Santa Fe is a stellar example of new construction in the area (VIRTUANCE FOR BARKER REALTY).

In Santa Fe’s Downtown and Historic Eastside neighborhoods, the average asking price in June and July 2021 hovered between $1.11 million-$1.25 million, according to Barker Realty.

Listed at $3,125,000 and currently pending is a 6,383 square foot estate just minutes from town. The property includes a single-level, Adobe-style main house and attached guest house. In addition, there is a 1,050-square-foot woodshop that could be converted to an artist’s studio.

contemporary living room inside a santa fe new mexico at 1009.5 Camino Santander

The contemporary home at 1009.5 Camino Santander sits on nearly half an acre. It recently sold for close to its $1.695-million asking price (VIRTUANCE FOR BARKER REALTY).

Santa Fe also boasts its share of newly built luxury properties. A Trey Jordan-designed contemporary with views to the Jemez Mountains on the Historic Eastside of Santa Fe listed in April at $1,695,000 and was pending sale in about two months. The property, which has since sold, includes a main house with two bedrooms and a separate artist’s studio/guest house.

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I have covered the business of real estate (both residential and commercial) for over 25 years, including more than a dozen years working in the Forbes Los Angeles bureau reporting and writing about as I call it, Adventures in Real Estate. From the first tear-downs turning into mega-mansions in Beverly Hills to luxury condos as investments in Las Vegas, I follow the ups and downs of real estate markets around the country just for the fun of it.