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Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Along the Bay of St. Louis on Mississippi's central Gulf Coast, charming Bay St. Louis sits amid rivers, marshes and estuaries and is known for its romantic, picturesque setting.

Tall trees, galleries, bookstores, oyster bars and Cajun restaurants in century-old cottages dot Old Town. The famous Mockingbird Cafe is a favorite with the "young, young at heart, slightly underground and old hippies." It also has an art gallery.

A music jam happens every second Saturday. The Bay St. Louis Little Theatre has a robust schedule. The beach is clean and has a long pier perfect for fishing.

Neighborhoods have an unfinished feeling and include everything from plantation styles and bungalows to stilt homes overlooking the water.

Cost of Living

Bay St. Louis has an overall cost of living that is 43% below the national average.

The median household income is $39,700.

Real Estate

The median home price is $160,000. This is a 6% increase over the previous year. For comparison, the national median home price is currently $385,000 (Realtor.com).

Estimates are that Bay St. Louis real estate prices will increase by 1% over the next year.

The median rental price is $835 per month.


Bay St. Louis has 13,000 residents. The population has grown by 27% within the last decade.

The median age is 42. For comparison, the median age of the U.S. population is 38.

Ochsner Medical Center is the main medical facility.

The crime rate is slightly above the national average.

Bay St. Louis was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina is 2005 but has rebounded.


The combined sales tax rate is 7%.

Mississippi does not tax any retirement income.

A homestead exemption of $300 is available to everyone. For people age 65 or better, the first $7,500 of a home's value is exempt from property taxes.

The average effective property tax rate (the annual tax payment as a percentage of median home value) in Bay St. Louis is .68%. The annual taxes on a $160,000 home are approximately $1,088, 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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