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Bokeelia, Florida

Along Florida's southwestern coast, Pine Island is Florida's largest island and is home to balmy Bokeelia, a sleepy seaside village once home to Spanish settlers and treasure-hunting pirates.

Today this tranquil place is a fishermen's dream and a boaters' Paradise. It is also an agricultural area, with palm tree plantations and large groves of fruit trees covering much of the community.

There is no classic Florida beach, but residents enjoy a waterfront park and an 18 hole golf course. The Bokeelia Art Gallery and eateries sit close to the water, but most shopping and services are in Pine Island Center, nine miles away in the island's "downtown."

Bokeelia has a handful of planned communities, including Captain's Cove, Captain's Harbor, Marina Gardens and Four Winds. Each has single family homes and/or condominiums with private or community boat docks. Little Bokeelia Island, a 100-acre private island with a magnificent 1928 estate, sits to the southwest.

Cost of Living

Bokeelia has an overall cost of living 9% higher than the national average.

The median household income is $41,779.

Real Estate

The median home price is $385,224. This is a 10% increase over the previous year. For comparison, the national median home price is currently $341,600.

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

The median rental price is $950 per month.


Bokeelia has 1,420 residents. The population declined between the years 2000 to 2014 but has been climbing since.

The median age is 63. For comparison, the median age of the U.S. population is 38.

There is no local medical center, but Cape Coral Hospital is 14 miles away in Cape Coral.

The crime rate is below the national average.


The sales tax rate is 6.5%.

Florida does not tax Social Security 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 Bokeelia is .95%. The annual taxes on a $385,224 home are approximately $3,658, 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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