Home | Previous Issues



Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Along the Emerald Coast on Florida's western Panhandle, low key Fort Walton Beach (FWB) is a fishing and beach town next to Eglin Air Force Base, Hulburt Field and Choctawhatchee Bay.

The city is famous for its sparkling turquoise waters and powdery, white sand beaches on the barrier island Okaloosa just south of town. Saltwater fishing adventures also begin on Okaloosa.

Nearby Santa Rosa Beach is home to even more stunning beaches and provides access to Point Washington State Forest, a 15,000-acre preserve.

FWB's downtown is chock full of restaurants, bars, shops and retailers. Fort Walton Landing has a boardwalk and a stage for summer concerts. Other city parks boast waterfront views and fishing piers.

Most homes are inland, but some sit next to the water and have a boat dock.

Cost of Living

Fort Walton Beach has an overall cost of living that is 15% below the national average.

The median household income is $54,450.

Real Estate

The median home price is $290,000. This is a 19% increase over the previous year. For comparison, the national median home price is currently $385,000 (Realtor.com).

Estimates are that Fort Walton Beach real estate prices will increase by 5% over the next year.

The median rental price is $1,450 per month.


Fort Walton Beach has 24,000 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.

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is the local hospital.

The crime rate meets the national average.

Hurricanes are always a possiblility. In fact, Hurricane Michael brushed the city in 2018 but caused little damage.

The city is popular with military families and Spring Breakers.


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 Fort Walton Beach is .70%. The annual taxes on a $290,000 home are approximately $2,030, 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.



Home | Privacy Policy | Contact Us


Webwerxx, Inc. Copyright (c) 2011-2021.

All rights reserved. No part of this electronic publication may be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of Webwerxx, Inc. Reproducing any original part of this publication without written permission from Webwerxx, Inc. is plagiarism. Numerous attempts were made to verify the accuracy of the information contained in this website, but some information may have changed since each article and/or report went online, and Webwerxx, Inc. is not responsible for inaccurate information contained in its articles and/or reports.