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Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

Made famous by the Wright Brothers, Kitty Hawk is a casual barrier island town in the heart of the Outer Banks. It has both a touristy village and a popular beachfront area.

The village boasts colorful eateries, fun shops and bicycling/walking paths while the beach section has hotels and cottages, as well as pinkish white sand, cyan waters, a dozen or so access points and a long, historic pier. Marinas are on the opposite side of the island.

The Kitty Hawk Woods Preserve brims with marshes and forests that are home to a variety of nature's creatures, including swans and river otters. Canoers and kayakers paddle through the quiet waters.

Housing includes Cape Cods, chalets and coastal styles. The beach is lined with beautiful residences just steps from the water.

Cost of Living

Kitty Hawk is an idyllic coastal town with an overall cost of living 15% higher than the national average.

The median household income is $66,900.

Real Estate

The median home price is $450,009. This is a 16% increase over the previous year. For comparison, the national median home price is currently $375,000 (Realtor.com).

Estimates are that Kitty Hawk real estate prices will increase by 6% over the next year.

The median rental price is $1,250 per month (varies by season).


Kitty Hawk has 3,500 residents and has grown by 4% during the last decade.

The median age is 50. For comparison, the median age of the U.S. population is 38.

There is no local hospital, but Outer Banks Hospital is 12 miles away in Nags Head.

The violent crime rate is well below the national average, but the property crime rate is above the national average.

Hurricanes are not unknown here. Both Matthew in 2016 and Florence in 2018 both caused damage.

Kitty Hawk is very quiet during the off season and very busy during the summer. Class lines are visible. One group has money and the other does not (and the one with money usually leaves during the winter).

The Wright Brothers' point of flight was actually in Kill Devil Hills to the south. This is where the Wright Brothers National Memorial is located.


The sales tax rate is 6.75%.

North Carolina does not tax Social Security but it taxes other retirement income withdrawls at a flat income tax rate of 5.25%.

The average effective property tax rate (the annual tax payment as a percentage of median home value) in Kitty Hawk is .62% The annual taxes on a $450,009 home are approximately $2,790.



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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