This city in the southwestern United States has been closely associated with artists since the early 20th Century, when painters began to move here, drawn by the area’s vivid desert beauty and indigenous and Hispanic cultures. A Unesco Creative City since 2005, Santa Fe has more than 250 art galleries and numerous museums, nearly half of which are clustered along Canyon Road. The most visited and high profile museum is the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, which contains more than 3,000 pieces of the avant-garde artist’s work. O’Keeffe is closely associated with the landscapes and colours around Santa Fe, a place where she spent much of her adult life.
About 70 miles north, the city of Taos also has a long history as an art colony, and 60 miles to the south Albuquerque is home to a number of galleries near Old Town Plaza and Nob Hill. 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.”