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The Cost of Living Diaries: Roswell, NM

Get the inside scoop on what it's like to be a local in Roswell, NM.

By Lindsey Hyde on December 9, 2022

Welcome to Roswell sign in New Mexico
Nathan Lambrecht

Welcome to The Cost of Living Diaries. How much does it cost to live in Roswell, New Mexico? What’s an average mortgage, a cocktail, or ideas for low-cost activities? Keep reading because we asked a Roswell local to tell us all about the cost of living in this thriving city!

Located in the center of southeast New Mexico, Roswell-Chaves County is a region full of surprises. While outsiders know it for its connection to aliens, residents love its gorgeous tree-lined streets and mountain views, not to mention its plethora of outdoor recreation options, vibrant arts community and delicious dining spots.

Amy McVay Tellez in Roswell, NM

Amy McVay Tellez
Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico

Amy McVay Tellez has lived in Roswell all her life and has worked for the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico for nearly 10 years. The Roswell resident shares what she loves most about her hometown.

What has kept you in Roswell?
My family. My parents lived here and my grandmother, so I was kind of the caretaker of the family. As I grew up and got older, I had two children. I just wanted the small-town environment for my kids growing up, and they both have stayed in the area. They don’t live here in Roswell, but they are close in the area.

How would you describe the community and its offerings?
What burdens my heart is I heard this … Roswell is one of the top 10 most identifiable cities in the world – not in the U.S., the world – for one thing (aliens). That has driven me to stay at the historical society. I single-handedly believe people underestimate us. They come in thinking we’re a little community known for the aliens, but they are so surprised with what we have to offer. We’re strong in history. We’re strong in art culture, and we’re just strong in so many things to do for a small community.

What do you love about living in Roswell?
It really is the small-town environment. We’re very close. It’s a very tight community. We’ve gone through a lot of tragedies, and that happens in all communities, but one thing I will say is Roswell shows up. It is a great little town to raise children and let them fly their wings.

What’s the housing market like in the region?
It’s a seller’s market – there’s no doubt about it. I’m not vastly knowledgeable. I live in a family home. Our housing rates have increased, but they’re very, very reasonable compared to national rates. (The typical home value in Roswell is $146,000, about 41% of the U.S. average, according to Zillow in August 2022.)

What kind of free or low-cost activities are available?
We’ve got live entertainment at numerous little eateries or restaurants, and we have a beautiful park (Cahoon Park) and a walking trail that runs right through downtown. We have Bottomless Lakes State Park nearby. There’s paddleboarding, swimming, picnicking. There’s also a farmers market downtown right in front of the courthouse a lot of Saturdays for most of the year.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the region, and about how much would dinner and drinks be for two?
Peppers Grill & Bar – been open for many, many years. They’re in the downtown area. They’re wonderful. You can go outside. They have that patio-feel, very comfortable environment. They’ve got everything, from steak and enchiladas down to good old burgers. (Dinner and drinks for two is) probably $30 or $40.

What’s a fun coffee shop in the area, and how much is your favorite drink?
Stellar Coffee Co. is our local coffee shop, besides Starbucks, but Stellar Coffee is in downtown Roswell, and it’s locally owned. Drinks are in that $3-$5 range, depending on what type of drink you get. They’re a darling little local coffee shop. You can go to the farmers market on a Saturday and absolutely walk down to Stellar Coffee. They’re about a block away.

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