Counties with the oldest homes in New Mexico

Written by:
September 12, 2021
Wordbuilder // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the oldest homes in New Mexico

There's an undeniable charm that comes with pre-World War II American architecture, characterized by high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, and ornate details. In fact, 12.8% of all housing units in America were built in 1939 or before, showing the popularity of the preservation of these units. Owning a piece of history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize. However, with more and more modernized pre-war homes on the market, generally located just outside bustling downtown metros, investing in property that has withstood the test of time is an attractive prospect.

Stacker compiled a list of the counties in New Mexico with the oldest homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built, with ties broken by the most homes before 1939.

The country’s domestic architecture is perhaps best characterized by a rugged individualism as opposed to the hybridization of disparate architectural elements. As Maya Angelou once perceptively observed, "the ache for home lives in all of us," a phrase that has meant very different things to different people.

Modest or palatial, there is no shortage of noteworthy homes in the U.S. Log cabins constructed by industrious pioneers have dotted the landscape alongside traditional Native American dwellings ever since immigrant Swedes introduced them to the New World in 1638. The unprecedented personal fortunes amassed by the so-called "Robber Barons" at the close of the 19th century gave way to the construction of a staggering number of Gilded Age estates.

The ravages of time spared neither the sumptuous nor the humble. Stately mansions, often prohibitively costly to maintain in the modern era, were frequently neglected; simple structures were forgotten, discarded by their owners, and damaged by natural elements. However, the tireless efforts of architectural preservationists and local historical societies have saved many of these homes from demolition, leading to their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and thereby safeguarding them for future generations.

Keep reading to learn more about which counties in New Mexico have the oldest homes.

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Drmccreedy // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Valencia County

- Median year homes built: 1987
--- #2,776 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 3.3%
--- #2,818 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 31,208
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Peter Potrowl // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Catron County

- Median year homes built: 1985
--- #2,568 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 5.5%
--- #2,385 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 3,756
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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Torrance County

- Median year homes built: 1985
--- #2,533 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 10.0%
--- #1,686 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,026
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Canva

#27. San Juan County

- Median year homes built: 1984
--- #2,518 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 2.0%
--- #3,032 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 51,113
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StockPhotoAstur // Shutterstock

#26. McKinley County

- Median year homes built: 1983
--- #2,368 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 4.2%
--- #2,622 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 26,312
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Gestalt Imagery // Shutterstock

#25. Lincoln County

- Median year homes built: 1982
--- #2,256 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 3.8%
--- #2,712 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 18,156
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Lochaven // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Taos County

- Median year homes built: 1982
--- #2,195 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.0%
--- #1,798 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 20,916
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Kristi Blokhin // Shutterstock

#23. Otero County

- Median year homes built: 1981
--- #2,140 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 2.8%
--- #2,900 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 31,745
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M.Bucka // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Bernalillo County

- Median year homes built: 1981
--- #2,136 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 3.1%
--- #2,840 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 293,787
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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Luna County

- Median year homes built: 1981
--- #2,130 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 3.8%
--- #2,714 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 11,287
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Carptrash // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Rio Arriba County

- Median year homes built: 1981
--- #2,107 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 5.7%
--- #2,351 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 20,184
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psyberartist // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Sierra County

- Median year homes built: 1981
--- #2,087 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.0%
--- #2,117 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,555
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#18. Socorro County

- Median year homes built: 1980
--- #1,950 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.5%
--- #1,876 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,234
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KeanoManu // Wikimedia Commons

#17. San Miguel County

- Median year homes built: 1980
--- #1,902 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.1%
--- #1,192 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 15,984
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Wordbuilder // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Roosevelt County

- Median year homes built: 1977
--- #1,602 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.5%
--- #2,198 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,518
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Underawesternsky // Shutterstock

#15. Grant County

- Median year homes built: 1977
--- #1,572 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.6%
--- #1,724 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 15,071
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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Curry County

- Median year homes built: 1976
--- #1,480 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.1%
--- #2,273 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 21,267
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#13. Cibola County

- Median year homes built: 1976
--- #1,479 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.2%
--- #2,263 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 11,397
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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Hidalgo County

- Median year homes built: 1976
--- #1,468 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.7%
--- #1,976 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,454
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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Colfax County

- Median year homes built: 1976
--- #1,393 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.9%
--- #1,080 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 10,284
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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Mora County

- Median year homes built: 1975
--- #1,257 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.0%
--- #809 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,981
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Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

#9. Los Alamos County

- Median year homes built: 1973
--- #1,138 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 0.3%
--- #3,211 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,384
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AllenS // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Lea County

- Median year homes built: 1973
--- #1,134 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 2.8%
--- #2,914 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 26,610
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#7. Eddy County

- Median year homes built: 1973
--- #1,130 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 5.1%
--- #2,473 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 24,576
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Cheri Alguire // Shutterstock

#6. Chaves County

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #870 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 5.1%
--- #2,462 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 27,279
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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Guadalupe County

- Median year homes built: 1969
--- #782 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.1%
--- #1,194 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,670
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Tony Hisgett // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Quay County

- Median year homes built: 1966
--- #638 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 6.5%
--- #2,199 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 5,690
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Wordbuilder // Wikimedia Commons

#3. De Baca County

- Median year homes built: 1963
--- #498 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 12.6%
--- #1,438 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 1,092
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Wordbuilder // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Union County

- Median year homes built: 1963
--- #497 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 12.7%
--- #1,428 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,347
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Vacaypicts // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Harding County

- Median year homes built: 1953
--- #114 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.9%
--- #443 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 567

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