Home sales and commercial development are popping on Albuquerque’s Westside. As transplant residents and corporate interests move into the area, this open portion of the city is finally set to blossom and expand, helping ABQ meet its full potential as a metropolitan hub of the Southwest. Home prices are jumping, and space is quickly being filled. Is it the right neighborhood for your family?

Real Estate Prices

Albuquerque realtors say the housing market has become increasingly competitive over the last year, with prices going up and fewer homes available than in 2020. While it may make purchasing a home all the more difficult, it’s a sign that the city is bouncing back from its pandemic lows and preparing to expand.

The average home price on the Westside is currently around $240,000. That’s quite an increase over last year when some home prices in the area were as much as 15 to 20 percent lower. Average home prices have risen in the last year for one simple reason: There are significantly more people looking for homes in Albuquerque, and there aren’t enough houses to go around. It’s simply the law of supply and demand.

Transplant residents from all over the nation are moving here at a high rate for a number of reasons. Many could be coming here as part of a seeming mass exodus from the country’s larger urban centers that has seen people move out of cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in favor of smaller municipalities. Still others have been drawn to prospects of fresh work and burgeoning corporate interests.

Corporations from a myriad of industries are now eyeballing Albuquerque in general and the undeveloped Westside in particular for land to build facilities and retail centers. We’ve already seen this happen dramatically with the Amazon warehouse near Unser and Route 66. The company is reportedly looking to hire more than 1,000 people in the near future to operate the facility. City councilors have also reportedly been discussing whether to locate the proposed New Mexico United soccer stadium on the Westside as an alternative to building in the Downtown area.

“Albuquerque has a great pool of people that companies can draw from,” says local real estate broker at Weichart Realtors Muhamed Abdul-Hack. “If we’re talking engineering, aerospace, movie studios—there’s a whole candidate pool for them to have access to when they bring their businesses here.”

And the establishment of new businesses will likely draw more out-of-towners, which could give companies even more incentive to develop the area. Needless to say, the Westside is growing.

Living on the Westside

There are many aspects about the Westside that should attract families looking for a place to settle in Albuquerque.

With the arrival of new residents will likely come new schools with more advanced educational facilities. In the meantime there are a number of public and private schools to choose from in the area. Families can also look forward to the Q Sports Arena, a 45,000-square-foot sports complex slated to open at the Coors Pavilion Shopping Center at Coors Boulevard and St. Joseph Drive in the fall. The facility will reportedly have basketball, volleyball, soccer and pickleball courts along with gyms, dining options and a barbershop.

Those concerned about Albuquerque’s high rates of crime will be relieved to note that the Westside is home to some of the safest neighborhoods in the metro area, according to Neighborhood Scout. Property crime continues to be a problem in the area, as with the rest of the city, but violent crimes—homicides and assaults—appear to be less prominent than in other areas, according to city data.

Travel to and from the city’s busy hotspots will likely continue to be an issue for Westside residents over the next few years, though. There are a limited number of roads connecting the western and eastern halves of the city—as evidenced by our nightly traffic—and it’s unclear if the city has any immediate plans to alleviate the issue.

City leaders have promised to tackle Albuquerque’s overall crime problem with new programs like the Metro Crime Initiative, a group tasked with making recommendations “to strengthen the criminal justice system,” according to a city press release.

Expansion Into the West

As land developers look to occupy space in the city to accommodate the arrival of new residents and industries, moving westward seems to be the only option available. “Anyone will tell you that Albuquerque as a city can only expand to the west,” says Abdul-Hack. “It will eventually be able to expand to the north and south, but there’s a lot of protected land in those areas. The city is also blocked from expansion by the military base and the mountains.”

That leaves developers with no choice but to move away from what are now considered the most vibrant parts of the city, making it clear that Albuquerque’s future lies in the west. “All of these developers are building on the Westside, because they’re trying to get in front of all the buyers right now,” says Abdul-Hack.

The lack of available houses and increased competition between buyers makes it a sellers’ market on the west side of the river. Ultimately, that sellers’ market means a bump in the economy for a city that has strained to keep its head above water over the last decade. It could also potentially lead to a new phase in the history of Albuquerque. As newer and fresher industries take root on the Westside in the coming years, the overall standard of living could improve drastically for residents in the area. The current trend of new incoming residents could become the norm if that’s the case, and Albuquerque will be set to grow into a darling of the Southwest.