FARMINGTON — Farmington is among the best cities in New Mexico.

That's according to a study conducted earlier this month by Movoto, a real estate brokerage company based in San Mateo, Calif. Farmington was ranked the No. 2 best city in New Mexico, behind No. 1 Los Alamos.

The findings, published in one of the company's blog posts, ranked the top 10 best cities in the state. Behind Los Alamos and Farmington, are, in order, North Valley, Artesia, Carlsbad, Albuquerque, Lovington, Rio Rancho, Hobbs and Santa Fe.

"You guys did really well across the board," said Travis Sawrie, a spokesman for the company, of Farmington's ranking.

Chris Rollins climbs a climbing wall on Dec. 19 at San Juan College in Farmington. A study conducted earlier this month by Movoto, a real estate brokerage
Chris Rollins climbs a climbing wall on Dec. 19 at San Juan College in Farmington. A study conducted earlier this month by Movoto, a real estate brokerage company, ranked Farmington the No. 2 best city in New Mexico. Some have cited the city's recreation opportunities as a reason for its high ranking. (Daily Times file photo)

Farmington was ranked the city with the fourth best pay on the list, with an average household income of almost $50,000. Its warm weather, short commute time and proximity to Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Park, the Salmon Ruins and the Aztec Museum and Pioneer Village were also selling factors.

To rank the cities, the company look at the state's 26 municipalities with populations greater than 10,000 and analyzed data from agencies such as the FBI, the American Community Survey, the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Weather Survey.

Cities' amenities, quality of life, crime, tax rates, unemployment, commute time and weather were the seven criteria used to determine the list of the top 10 cities.

"We think that a combination of these criteria say that a city is a great city," Sawrie said.

He said Movoto's researchers rely on data to objectively rank cities. Movoto holds licenses in 37 states but none are in New Mexico, according to its website.

Reactions to the survey were mixed.

When Gabriela Torrez heard about the city's ranking, she laughed.

"I really didn't think it was that high," the Kirtland resident said.

Torrez worked in Farmington but has since retired. She said the city's high gas costs and housing market prices and its crime rate, which she perceives to be rising, are reasons it should rank lower.

Farmington should be ranked fifth on the list, maybe, she said, not second. She also said it is odd that Santa Fe, a city with a lot of culture and history, is ranked at No. 10.

"I don't see that many people coming to Farmington for vacation," she said.

But with any city, negative impressions are based on locals' perceptions, Farmington Mayor Tommy Roberts said.

The city has many "quality of life perks" inside and outside its limits, he said, listing its competitive utility rates and recreation opportunities.

"I think it is a complement for Farmington, first of all," Roberts said, adding that the ranking can also be used in the city's economic-development efforts.

Vera Candelaria lived for 24 years in Farmington until she recently moved to Bloomfield, and she agrees with Movoto's study.

"We've been to other places, and this is the best place to be," she said.

Her daughter, Desiree Candelaria, 25, also loves the area. She said the family visited Hawaii, but it had too much water. She likes the desert, she said.

"Farmington should be No. 1 (on the list)," she said.

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and dschwartz@daily-times.com. Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.