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Gulfport, Florida

This casual coastal town sits along Boca Ciega Bay just west of St. Petersburg on Florida's central Gulf Coast and is known for its Old Florida waterfront district and bohemian vibe.

Beach Boulevard is lined with colorful restaurants, quirky shops and fun bookstores. Shore Boulevard parallels the narrow beach and is peppered with parking areas, apartments, green spaces and palm trees. The marina has a seawall and wet slips, and Williams Pier is popular with anglers and bird watchers. Tuesday is Fresh Market Day, and once a month Fridays and Saturdays are art walk days.

Clam Bayou Nature Park has boardwalks, trails, observation decks and a kayak launch. Chase Park is the home of the historical society's museum. Wood Ibis Park has a lake and a butterfly park. The Gulfport Casino Ballroom offers everything from Argentine tango to Salsa dances. The library has a reading garden and supports a writing group.

Homes range from modest concrete block styles to gorgeous waterfront estates. There are also bayfront condominium buildings.

Cost of Living

Gulfport is a somewhat reasonably priced coastal town with an overall cost of living 3% less than the national average.

The median household income is $38,710.

Real Estate

The median home price is $380,000. This is a 10% increase over the previous year.

The median rental price is $1,600 per month (varies by season).


Gulfport has 13,000 residents and has maintained its population during the last decade.

The median age is 54.

There is no local hospital, but St. Petersburg has several medical centers.

The crime rate meets the national average.


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 really 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 Gulfport is .90%. The annual taxes on a $380,000 home are approximately $3,420, 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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