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Mexico Beach, Florida

Little Mexico Beach sits along the Florida Panhandle, 25 miles to the southeast of Panama City. It is a very relaxed place, known as "Mayberry on the Water." It is also rebuilding, coming back to life after Hurricane Michael brought major destruction in 2018.

The ongoing construction of businesses and homes is giving this idyllic hamlet a more up to date feeling than it once had. Still, building height restrictions remain in place. There are no tall hotels. The beach, five miles of often empty white sand caressed by pale blue water, is clean and has been renourished.

The pier is back in business. The mom and pop beachwear shops, delis, oyster bars, cafes, bike rental shops and grocery stores are slowly returning. A new gas station opened not long ago.

New colorful homes are popping up, many atop stilts in neighborhoods with sandy streets. Residences along U.S. 98 have ocean views. There are also new condominiums. Fishing, snorkeling, SCUBA diving and swimming remain a way of life.

Before Michael, Mexico Beach did not have a traffic stop light. Town leaders have no plans to add one now.

Cost of Living

Mexico Beach has an overall cost of living 1% higher than the national average.

The median household income is $53,580.

Real Estate

The median home price is $385,900. This is a 15% increase over the previous year. For comparison, the national median home price is currently $380,000 (Realtor).

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

The median rental price is $1,180 per month.


Mexico Beach has 1,400 residents. The population grew by 24% between 2010 and 2018. Many people left after Michael but are now returing.

The median age is 53. For comparison, the median age of the U.S. population is 38.

There is no local medical center, but Sacred Heart Hospital is 11 miles away in Port St. Joe.

The crime rate meets the national average.


The 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 Mexico Beach is .69%. The annual taxes on a $385,900 home are approximately $2,657, 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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