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The real estate market has slowed slightly, but Santa Fe’s built-in reputation as a holiday spot has been a buffer. “Since we are considered a resort destination, we still have a market for investors, second-home buyers and retirees,” said Victoria Murphy, president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors.

The city has a homogenous look, with many houses made from adobe and built in the traditional Pueblo, Territorial and Spanish styles. Areas near downtown and Santa Fe Plaza, a National Historic Landmark, are popular, including the Historic Eastside and South Capitol neighbourhoods, east and south of the plaza. The median two-bedroom house price in these areas is $425,000 and the average house rental is around $1,200 to $1,500 a month.

Art is even part of the real estate game, in an annual February event called Art Feast, where galleries stage selected houses on the market with works from artists they represent. “The galleries re-hang paintings and provide sculptures for the homes,” said Murphy. “And on Saturday and Sunday they are open to the public.”

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
San Miguel, located about 300km north of Mexico City, attracts US retirees, hippies, snowbirds, artists, painters and sculptors to its spicy-coloured, 17th- and 18th-century Colonial architecture and temperate climate. The city is a Unesco World Heritage Site; has a number of art schools, including the Instituto Allende which was founded by American Stirling Dickinson in the 1940s; and numerous galleries clustered along the historic town centre’s cobblestone streets showcase everything from traditional Mexican folk art to contemporary photography and sculpture.

“We have a lively arts scene, plus film and music festivals and a vital international community,” said Joanie Barcal, owner of Allende Properties estate agents. The market has rebounded in the past six months after the US and Mexico national elections and increased Mexican investment. The Historic Centro, with its colonial houses, is the most desirable area to be in, but also the most expensive, so nearby neighbourhoods such as popular Guadiana, neighbouring Ojo de Agua, colonial San Antonio and quiet Guadalupe are also very sought after. “The range of prices is quite broad in these neighbourhoods and can go from $150,000 to $1 million or higher,” explained Barcal. A one-bedroom apartment rents for around $500 a month.

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