An unemployment rate that is one percent below the national average, a relatively short commute and reasonable housing costs make Bernalillo County an ideal place to live. In 2017, an estimated 676,773 people called Bernalillo County home, the U.S. Census Bureau says. Population density in the county was 571 people per square mile in 2010, the Census found.
Kirtland Air Force Base occupies 51,558 acres and employs approximately 20,800 people, and an estimated 1,950 active-duty personnel live off base in surrounding communities, according to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Market Analysis in 2013.
The county’s communities give newcomers plenty of choices when selecting a home. Enlist the help of a reputable real estate agent to help you sort through the area’s home options. The Realtors Association of New Mexico is a central source of local real estate information and services. Visit www.nmrealtor.com to find expertise and professional services for those interested in purchasing a new home.
Bernalillo County is more than 1,160 square miles in the heart of New Mexico. It is the third-smallest county in size but the largest in population.
The average elevation in the county is nearly 6,000 feet above sea level. There are about 278 sunny days per year in Bernalillo County, with about 64 days when there is measurable precipitation. The sunny days and warm temperatures make this county an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. For more information, check out the Bernalillo County website at www.bernco.gov.
Communities in Bernalillo County near Kirtland Air Force Base include Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Edgewood and Tijeras.
1 Civic Plaza NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102 505-768-2000
Albuquerque sits about 5 miles northwest of Kirtland Air Force Base. The city’s 189.5 square miles are home to more than 558,545 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Albuquerque was founded in 1706 as the Spanish colonial outpost of Ranchos de Albuquerque. Albuquerque was a farming community and strategically located military outpost along the Camino Real. The town was also the sheep-herding center of the West. The establishment of Kirtland Air Force Base in 1939, Sandia Base in the early 1940s and Sandia National Laboratories in 1949 would make Albuquerque a key player of the Atomic Age. Meanwhile, the city continued to expand outward onto the West Mesa, reaching a population of 201,189 by 1960. In 1990, it was 384,736, and in 2007 it was 518,271. In June 2007, Albuquerque was listed as the sixth fastest-growing city in America by the U.S. Census.
Homes in the area range from well-established neighborhoods to brand-new housing developments. Median rent is $833, and selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage are $1,324. Mean travel time to work for those living in Albuquerque is 21.2 minutes.
1911 Historic Route 66
Edgewood, NM 87015 505-286-4518
Edgewood is a small town in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, and is the fastest-growing place in the state of New Mexico. Through annexations, its town boundaries now extend into Bernalillo and Torrance counties. Although in Santa Fe County, Edgewood is geographically closer to Albuquerque and in recent years has become a popular bedroom community for commuters. With a population of nearly 4,000, Edgewood is primarily made up of families. The town sits on 48.7 square miles and is approximately 30 miles east of Albuquerque and Kirtland Air Force Base.
Median rent in the town is $900, and median monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage are $1,373.
3200 Civic Center Circle NE
Rio Rancho, NM 87144 505-891-5000
Rio Rancho is the largest city and economic hub of Sandoval County in the state of New Mexico. A small portion of the city extends into northern Bernalillo County. The city is approximately 20 miles from Kirtland AFB.
The Rio Rancho area was originally part of the Alameda Grant, which was founded by the Spanish in 1710. By the early 20th century, much of the land grant had been sold to land investment companies. Amrep Corporation purchased 55,000 acres in 1961 and turned the land into a housing development called Rio Rancho Estates with the first families moving in the early 1960s. Most of these early residents were New Yorkers, as the developers advertised heavily in New York media. The population grew tenfold between 1970 and 1980, and the city of Rio Rancho was incorporated in 1981.
Today, Rio Rancho is the third-largest and also one of the fastest expanding cities in New Mexico. The U.S. Census estimated that in 2017, Rio Rancho had a population of 96,159. Mean travel time to work for residents of Rio Rancho is 28.4 minutes. Median rent is $1,118, and selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage are $1,342.
481 Highway 66
Tijeras, NM 87059 505-281-1999
Tijeras is a village in New Mexico about 15 miles east of Kirtland AFB. In October 2014, Tijeras gained national notoriety for a nearby musical road, a two-lane stretch of Route 66 with grooves in the roadway arranged to cause the sounds of “America the Beautiful” to be heard when vehicles drive on it at 45 mph.
The village of 553 residents sits on 1.2 square miles and is at the junction of Tijeras Canyon, leading to the west, toward Albuquerque, and Cedro Canyon, leading to the south, toward the Manzano Mountains. The cost of living in Tijeras is slightly higher than the state’s average, and rentals are scarce. Average rents are around $1,203 and selected monthly owner costs of housing units with a mortgage are $1,361.