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Bay Harbor Islands, Florida

Northeast of Miami on Florida's southeastern coast, balmy, sun soaked Bay Harbor Islands (BHI) spreads across two small islands. The barrier island to the east of BHI is home to tony Bal Harbour and Miami Beach.

BHI's east island is packed with apartments and tall, white washed condos, while the west island is chock full of concrete block ranch ramblers. Homes along the canal between the two islands or on Biscayne Bay, which separates BHI from the mainland, are larger and have a boat slip.

Restaurants and retailers sit along Kane Concourse, the palm tree-lined, four lane road that connects BHI to Bal Harbour and to the mainland.

Aventura Mall, a destination shopping center, is just five miles away. Miami's Indian Creek Golf Course covers the entire island south of BHI. The white sands and azure waters of Bal Harbour Beach are crowded but less than a mile away.

Cost of Living

Bay Harbor Islands has an overall cost of living that is 8% above the national average.

The median household income is $78,150.

Real Estate

The median home price is $425,000. This is a 9% increase over the previous year. For comparison, the national median home price is currently $385,000 (Realtor.com).

Estimates are that Bay Harbor Islands real estate prices will increase by 2% over the next year.

The median rental price is $1,850 per month.


Bay Harbor Islands has 6,000 residents. The population has grown by 7% within the last decade.

The median age is 41. For comparison, the median age of the U.S. population is 38.

Bay Harbor Islands does not have hospital, but nine medical centers are within a 10 mile radius.

The crime rate is below the national average.

Hurricanes are always a possibility. In fact, Irma caused some flooding in 2017.


The combined sales tax rate is 7%.

Florida does not tax Social Security benefits or any other retirememt income.

Florida's property tax homestead exemption reduces the assessed value of a home by $50,000, so a residence that is actually worth $100,000 is only taxed on $50,000. Residents age 65 and older who meet certain income limits may receive an extra homestead exemption of up to $50,000.

The average effective property tax rate (the annual tax payment as a percentage of median home value) in Bay Harbor Islands is .97%. The annual taxes on a $425,000 home are approximately $4,123, without a homestead exemption.

Mortgages for Retirees

As people live longer and mortgage rates are at historic lows, more and more retired folks are considering obtaining a mortgage rather than paying cash for a new home. You are never "too old" to get a mortgage, thanks to the Equal Opportunity Credit Act, as long as you have the means to do so.

Having said that, retirees face some unique challenges when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage. Most mortgage lenders will look at the same criteria as they would for a young first time homebuyer, including your credit history, debt to income ratio and monthly income. The good news is that Social Security benefits and distributions from 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement accounts count as income.

However, because retirement accounts become depleted over time they have a defined expiration date. As a result, a mortgage lender will want to know that the distribution income will continue for at least three years after the date of the mortgage application.

It is also important to keep in mind that if your retirement accounts consist of stocks, bonds, or mutual funds or other "volitle" investments, mortgage lenders will only use 70% of the value in the retirement accounts to determine your mortgage qualifcation.

And while Social Security counts as income, if you are drawing on a family member’s record, such as survivor benefits or spousal benefits, then the income must be documented as payable for at least three years from the mortgage application date.

If you cannot qualify for a traditional mortgage, then a reverse mortgage might be an option. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also have programs that can make home buying easier. Check with a reverse mortgage lender or these goverment agencies to see loans and programs available to you.



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