Rio Rancho, New Mexico and Rio Rancho, NM real estate for sale are found in the state’s third-largest city and one of its fastest-growing. Rio Rancho sits west of Albuquerque, about 18 miles from downtown on the west side of the Rio Grande River. It is an attractive and diverse city which has grown remarkably since 2000. Actually, this is a big understatement because Rio Rancho’s population of just over 93,000 represents a growth rate of over 79% since 2000! There are many reasons for this growth, including its strong local employment base (especially the presence of Intel Corporation), reasonable distance from Albuquerque, and quality of life.


The Rio Rancho area has a rich, colorful history. In 1710, the Spanish issued the Alameda Grant and Rio Rancho was an original part of it. By the early twentieth century, a majority of the land grant area had been sold to land investment interests. In 1961, 55,000 acres of this were bought by Amrep Corporation which created the housing development called “Rio Rancho Estates.” Early residents moved in not much longer after, many hailing from New York. In the ten years between 1970 and 1980, the City of Rio Rancho grew dramatically.

In 1981, two big events occurred: the city was incorporated and Intel Corporation opened a plant. The early 1980’s also saw the establishment of a home financing program that had a big impact on Rio Rancho, NM real estate for sale: it offered low interest home loans and the result was that Rio Rancho changed from a retirement community into one that attracted many young families.

Since the 1990s, Rio Rancho has become increasingly independent from Albuquerque. Independent school and library systems have been established, and the recent Downtown City Centre development features a new city hall structure (opened Sept. 2007) and new campuses for UNM West and CNM. The Santa Ana Star Center arena (opened Oct. 2006) is also part of the City Centre.

Shopping and Dining

Local Rio Rancho stores and artisans create and sell southwestern-flavored art and crafts, hand-crafted jewelry, gourmet edibles, western wear, and much more. For large retailers, Cottonwood Mall, New Mexico’s largest retail center, is just a short drive from Rio Rancho. Here you’ll find anchor stores JCPenney, Dillard’s, Sears, Foley’s, Mervyn’s, and United Artists Theaters. More than 135 retailers call Cottonwood Mall home including retailers like Williams-Sonoma, Thomas Kinkade, Old Navy, Hollister Co., Forever 21, The Disney Store and Abercrombie & Fitch.

A decision to buy Rio Rancho, NM real estate for sale brings you to a town that has come into its own and offers dining and entertainment options downtown. Quality eateries can also be found throughout the city. After a day of hiking, shopping or working, options include Banana Leaf vegetarian (Asian fusion), Dion’s Pizza, Hot Tamales, Joe’s Pasta House, Noda’s Japanese Cuisine, Namaste Cuisine of India & Nepal, Toro Tequila Bar and Grill steakhouse, and Turtle Mountain Brewing for pub and pizza fare.

Parks and Recreation

Rio Rancho offers dozens of parks in addition to bike paths, 6 dog parks, 5 maintained trails, and 4 aquatic centers.

Rio Rancho’s aquatic centers include year-round pools and summer pools that kids of all ages enjoy during New Mexico’s warm, dry summers. The centers include the year-round Rio Rancho Aquatic Center and (re-opening in Spring) Cabezon Outdoor Pool, Haynes Outdoor Pool, and Rainbow Outdoor Pool.

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Rio Rancho enjoys some enviable economic advantages: it has a strong employment base with high profile companies like Intel and Hewlett-Packard, and Albuquerque is close enough for commuters. In fact, CNN Money ranked Rio Rancho #59 on its list of the 100 best small cities in America. Rio Rancho also became the first U.S. city to offer citywide voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi) service in 2002, and while some residents experienced uneven results, it demonstrates this forward-thinking city’s technological commitment. This in turn helps attract both prospective employers and high-tech workers.

Intel Corporation is the largest employer in Rio Rancho and the tech giant’s cutting-edge Fab 11X plant is the world’s biggest semiconductor fabrication facility. This $2 billion, fully automated facility opened in 2002 and became the first Intel plant to produce 300mm silicon wafers which can contain nearly twice as many chips as standard 200mm wafers. Rio Rancho is also home to several call centers.

The median home cost in Rio Rancho is $155,000, but Rio Rancho, NM real estate for sale is available in a wide variety of price categories. Home-seekers will find everything from starter homes to large, upscale houses with acreage.


Rio Rancho Public Schools administers 18 schools. The district offers two traditional high schools and two alternative high schools, plus four middle schools, 10 elementary schools and one preschool.

High Schools

  • Rio Rancho High School
  • V. Sue Cleveland High School (opened August 2009)
  • Independence High School
  • Rio Rancho Cyber Academy
Middle Schools

  • Eagle Ridge Middle School
  • Lincoln Middle School
  • Mountain View Middle School
  • Rio Rancho Middle School
Elementary Schools

  • Cielo Azul Elementary School
  • Colinas del Norte Elementary
  • Enchanted Hills Elementary
  • E. Stapleton Elementary
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary
  • Maggie M. Cordova Elementary
  • Puesta del Sol Elementary
  • Rio Rancho Elementary
  • Sandia Vista Elementary
  • Vista Grande Elementary

Parents in Rio Rancho also have strong options for private education including St. Thomas Aquinas School (K-8), Gospel Light Baptist Academy (PreK-12), and Covenant School of Rio Rancho (PreK-K).


Numerous medical and dental providers and two strong local hospitals call Rio Rancho home. Presbyterian Rust Medical Center is an excellent general purpose hospital while the new UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center (SRMC), centrally located near the Rio Rancho City Hall and UNM West, offers 200,000 square feet with 72 inpatient beds and a variety of services including emergency medicine.


Rio Transit serves registered Rio Rancho residents and all buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts. For individuals 55 and over and for disabled adults 18 years of age and older, Rio Transit provides door-to-door transportation. ABQ Ride, Albuquerque’s transit service, provides bus service connecting Rio Rancho with the New Mexico Rail Runner Express station at Journal Center. Albuquerque International Sunport is about 18 miles or just over 30 minutes from Rio Rancho.