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Isle of Hope, Georgia

Once a haven for wealthy Savannahans fleeing the Yellow Fever, sleepy, seductive Isle of Hope is today known for its elegant, historic waterfront manors. It is a little bit southwest from where the Skidaway River intersects with the Wimington River on the northern Georgia coast, just 17 miles from Savannah's big city amenities. Yet it feels a world away.

The marina, dotted with small sailboats and tall masted yachts, plays a major role in town life as it is the island's only commercial endeavor. Its overwater pavilion hosts portions of the annual music and art festival. The Wormsloe Historic Site features the area's best known plantation and has hiking trails, living history exhibits and a Colonial faire and muster.

Local beaches include Butterbean and Tybee, which has a lighthouse and science center. The nearby Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge is known for it rolling dunes, maritime forest and salt marshes. Skidaway Island State Park boasts trails, camping facilities, a boardwalk, and an observation tower.

Neighborhood lanes are tree canopied, and while many homes are large, historic and beautiful, others are modest bungalows and ranch ramblers. Nearly all sit on a lush lot. A grocery is in nearby Sandfly, but most shopping and services are in Savannah.

Cost of Living

Isle of Hope is a beautiful town with an overall cost of living 8% higher than the national average.

The median household income is $106,550.

Real Estate

The median home price in Isle of Hope is $374,442. This is a 6% increase over the previous year. For comparison, the national median home price is currently $334,218.

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

The median rental price is $1,432 per month.


Isle of Hope has 2,400 residents and has grown by 6% during the last decade. Everyone here knows everyone else.

The median age is 46. For comparison, the median age of the U.S. population is 38.

There is no local medical center, but Savannah has several hospitals.

The crime rate is below the national average.

Hurricanes are not unknown here. Matthew brought damage in 2016.


The combined sales tax rate is 7%. This is the total of state, county and city sales tax rates.

Georgia does not tax Social Security and offers every person age 65 or better a $65,000 total deduction on all retirement income.

The average effective property tax rate in Isle of Hope is 1.02%. The annual taxes on a $375,442 home are approximately $3,829. People age 65 or better may receive a $4,000 property tax 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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