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Fernandina Beach, Florida

Fernandina Beach sits on idyllic Amelia Island, a barrier island along the northeastern Florida coast. Posh resort hotels, lush emerald golf courses and 13 miles of gorgeous beaches make it a tourist magnet.

The cute downtown is dotted with boutiques, art galleries and fun eateries in historic buildings. Horse drawn carriages stroll up and down the streets.

Ancient, moss-draped oaks line neighborhood lanes, and homes range from simple ranch ramblers to stunning Mediterranean estates. Amelia Park is a beautiful master planned community with New Urbanism architecture.

Festivals and events include the Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, the Right Whale Festival and the Island Hop Craft Beer Festival. The Saturday morning farmers' market is always bustling with activity.

The west side of town has a marina and boat ramps while the east side has several beach parks.

Cost of Living

Fernandina Beach has an overall cost of living that is 14% higher than the national average.

The median household income is $63,998.

Real Estate

The median home price is $455,000. This is a 13% increase over the previous year. For comparison, the national median home price is currently $363,000 (Realtor).

Estimates are that Fernandina Beach real estate prices will increase by 3% over the next year.

The median rental price is $1,550 per month.


Fernandina Beach has 13,000 residents. The population has grown by 4% within the last decade.

The median age is 54. For comparison, the median age of the U.S. population is 38.

Baptist Medical Center Nassau is the local health facility.

The crime rate is below the national average.

Fernandina Beach has two paper mills, one on either side of town. Some people say that they emit an unpleasant turpentine odor, but long time residents say the odors are minimal.


The combined sales tax rate is 7%.

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 Fernandina Beach is .80%. The annual taxes on a $455,000 home are approximately $3,640, 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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