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Cost of moving: New Mexico

The mountainous desert region of New Mexico occasionally experiences snow.

The mountainous desert region of New Mexico occasionally experiences snow.

"New Mexico: It's not really new, it's not really Mexico," the old joke goes. But that doesn't mean it's not a wonderful place to move. The state is more than arid desert - much of it is actually mountainous, and many of its cities offer spectacular views on clear afternoons.

Albuquerque may be arguably the hardest city to spell, but rest assured your moving company will know how to get there - it's the largest city in the state, after all. With roughly 545,000 residents, Albuquerque offers big-city amenities with a desert town feel. One thing people who move to the area don't fully realize is that the city - and much of the state, for that matter - is roughly a mile above sea level. Living at that altitude can take some getting used to. For a while, you may find yourself out of breath and dehydrated, but that will pass.

Living in the desert isn't all sunshine and sweltering heat, though Albuquerque gets its fair share of that. But because it's in the "high desert," as it's called, the city also gets a good deal of cold weather. It's even been known to snow from time to time, though not very often and not very much.

There are a great many cultural offerings in the state and especially in the Albuquerque area. The entire region was once the stomping ground of the Pueblo Indians, and their influence can still be felt today. At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the state's newest residents - like you - can learn about the oldest residents and life before the settlers. The National Hispanic Cultural Center offers a perspective on the lives of other ethnic groups that call the area home.

If you're interested in calling the area home, median home prices are around $189,700, according to real estate expert Bert Sperling.

A few miles north - and a few thousand feet higher in elevation - is the state's capital, Santa Fe. When it was originally founded in 1610 by the Spanish, it was called Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asis (translation: Royal City of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi). Quite a mouthful, eh? Today, Santa Fe is easier to pronounce, but perhaps not so easy to afford. Bert Sperling places the median home price at nearly $300,000.