I bought a condominium in Ruidoso, New Mexico.
The place has both an upstairs and a downstairs and they are not connected. Upstairs are two bedrooms, each with a full bathroom. The rest of the upstairs is mostly a “great room” that flows from dining, to living places. There is an alcove with a kitchen as part of the great room. There are nice large windows in front as well as a nice sized balcony. The downstairs is mostly unfinished space, with a half-bath, a washer and a dryer. There isn’t an inside connection between upstairs/downstairs but instead you walk down the stairway at right. Otherwise, a fairly basic place with dated appliances and older carpet but the price was right. The sellers were supposed to remove their furniture but appear to have been slow doing this – so expect charitable organization to be picking that up in next few days. It also looks like the sellers basically abandoned even personal things in the closets and the selling realtor didn’t do their side of the agreement to remove items. Sigh.
The condo is just slightly outside Ruidoso at 7500ft elevation. This makes for a more drier and more temperate climate that is 15 degrees cooler than Austin year round and for both high and low temperatures.
Temperatures are slightly milder than northern Colorado. Not quite as warm in the summer and not quite as cold in the winter. On average, Ruidoso gets about half the amount of snow each winter as northern Colorado. Annual moisture is ~17 inches vs. ~14 inches and more of a summer monsoon than spring snowstorms. As with other dry climates, it is sunny most of the time.
These deer were hanging around. My guess is people might be feeding them. I think there are bears and other wildlife in the area as well.
The greater Ruidoso region has a summer population of ~30,000 and has a bit of a vacation area feel to it. Lots of “cabins”, condos and building lots. An overcrowded downtown reminds me of Estes Park with a lot of touristy shops. I think the summer tourist season is more popular than winter. The nearest big cities are El Paso (140 miles), Albuquerque (180 miles), Lubbock (250 miles), Amarillo (290 miles). Ruidoso is ~560 miles from DFW and ~580 miles from Austin. The roads are good and if the weather cooperates, I can easily drive in a day.
My condo is about 15 miles from Ski Apache a small ski area on slopes of Sierra Blanca mountain. This year is apparently a dry year with less snow than normal but there were still some skiers. The road is paved, but narrow and winding as it climbs ~2000ft up to base of the ski area. Sierra Blanca summit is just slightly less than 12000 feet and is tallest and most prominent peak in southern New Mexico. https://www.summitpost.org/sierra-blanca/151784. Very little of the roads are flat, but should be some fun cycling up and down these hills.
Views from a lookout on the road up to Ski Apache show you can see pretty far. This is looking mostly off to the northeast. A lot of this area is Lincoln National Forest, with some hiking as well as campground areas. Directly to the south is mostly Mescalero Indian reservation. The overall uplifted area of mountains is about 20 miles wide and 60 miles long and is surrounded by lower dry desert areas. Ruidoso is in the northern part of this region and Cloudcroft is further south.
I’ll be interested in hiking up Sierra Blanca since it will be ~7500 feet higher than the surrounding areas such as White Sands National Park on the west side. In the foreground is Monjeau Peak at 9582ft – https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/lincoln/recarea/?recid=80034
A screenshot from Google Maps satellite view shows the rough location of this green blob in middle. To the left is the Rio Grande Valley between Socorro and Las Cruces. In the valley to the left are the White Sands as well as Malpai Lava Flow. There is another lower range between White Sands/Malpai and the Rio Grande. To the right is Roswell with some green farming areas. In between is this uplifted area with Sierra Blanca Peak highlighted. Just below the bottom right is a Carlsbad Caverns, a longer day trip from Ruidoso.
So why a condo in Ruidoso?
In the short run, as the pandemic continues, I figure it is nice to have an alternate place that is one long days drive from Austin. I’m getting high-speed internet installed the next day or two and then should be able to rent a car, drive up one weekend, stay for a week or two while working from Ruidoso and then drive back on a subsequent weekend. It also happens to be one long day drive to northern Colorado, so also a shorter distance and potential stopover point between CO and TX.
After we unwind from the pandemic, I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to work as much remotely, but should also be a spot for shorter vacation or jump off point for other adventures. I’m thinking of a three week trip in May. First week working remotely, then a week of bicycling through New Mexico and then another week of working before returning. Hopefully can escape during some summer times when Austin gets particularly hot/muggy.
After these next few years, who knows. Eventually it would be nice to make some extended bicycle travels for a year or two and have a home base to store stuff and occasionally visit between travels — I do see myself getting back to Colorado after that.
If some of these thoughts/plans don’t work out as well as expected, then can always sell again later. Prices were reasonable (my best guess is ~1/2 the cost per square foot of what my Austin town home is worth; Ruidoso is closer to prices in El Paso or Lubbock than Austin which is a hotter market). If the pandemic causes more people to work remotely from places like Ruidoso, this could become more popular as it is otherwise a nice but somewhat more remote area.
Both an interesting project to get Ruidoso condo set up and an interesting get-away for visit. This week is a first week setting things up while also mostly working remotely.
Lovely place Mike!
Congrats on your new condo! Is this unit similar to your Auburn Way condo? How’s the Ruidoso real estate market–inventory and prices?
This condo is slightly larger. Two bedrooms upstairs about same size as Auburn Way but two bathrooms. Also downstairs with a half bath.
As far as Ruidoso market goes, best I can tell it is fairly stable with prices and inventory. My realtor told me she has been quite busy and expected it to slow down after the New Year but it kept going. However, I also don’t see evidence of bidding wars or similar behavior. As a buyer, it seems like the largest market is houses or land – and condos are a smaller portion. Even so, I kept seeing new places pop up periodically. The prices themselves are at a lower level than urban areas. Still possible to find places less than $100/sf. When I compare what I paid for Auburn Way in 1997, I paid less per square foot in Ruidoso in 2021 – and I expect the prices have gone up considerably for Auburn Way since then.
The prices are