Santa Fe, NM is now “the hottest second home market” in the world, according to Christie’s “Luxury Defined” annual analysis of global luxury residential housing options.

Often known as The City Different for its unique blend of cultures, historical architectural sites, stunningly exquisite physical beauty and bold, multiethnic foods, Santa Fe is the oldest city in the state of New Mexico, founded in 1610, and the oldest state capital in the US.

Santa Fe, meaning “holy faith” in Spanish, is a small town filled with approximately 85,000 people, +300 days of sunshine and with levels of intellectual activity, sophistication, and artistic creativity one would expect in a much larger place. Santa Fe surged ahead of Muskoka, Ontario, Sarasota, FL, Sun Valley, ID and the Bahamas on Christie’s list of top second home markets.

Luxury House in Santa Fe, NM

Comparative affordability attracts luxury second homebuyers from Texas, California and New York as well as international buyers. Affordable luxury translates into +$1M-$1.5M.

Worldwide, 2018 sales volumes of second home and resort lifestyle destinations grew by 19%, according to Christie’s analysis. This is a significant uptick from a -7% decline in 2017.

Two years ago in Santa Fe, the luxury market within city limits in the +$2M price range sold 5 homes within one brokerage firm. Last year, according to Stephanie Duran, an agent with Barker Realty/Christie’s International Real Estate in Santa Fe, “ we (as a brokerage) had 20 sales.”

Luxury home sales in Santa Fe have gone from 133 in 2016 to 158 sales in 2017 to 40 sales with a median sales price of $$1.35M in Q1 2018. (Q1 2017 totaled 27 sales with a median sales price of $1.25M.)

Both older retirees and younger Gen-Xers (people who found gold in their recently sold homes in CA, NY and TX and now able to retire “early”) are driving inventory shortages throughout the City Different. Active listings have declined -25% year/year, according to and listing views are up +38% according to Maison Global.

As a former resident, I have mixed feelings about Santa Fe’s first place stardom. This art/music/intellectually rich city nestled in the Sangro de Christo foothills and bathed in sunshine with Pueblo-style architecture and small crooked streets definitely deserves its star status. On the other hand, this once secret treasure is no longer a secret.