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Manteo, North Carolina

On North Carolina's northern Outer Banks' island of Roanoke, this charming, secluded waterfront village curves around quiet Shallowbag Bay and dates from the late 1800s.

The artsy town center has restaurants, bookstores, cafes, B&Bs and art galleries tucked in attractive, colorful buildings. The sidewalks are red brick.

Sailboats and pleasure cruisers bob in the marina, which has a boardwalk and the elegant Roanoke Inn as a backdrop.

Festivals, including Dare Day and New World Festival of the Arts, entertain locals and tourists alike. The Waterside Theater's annual summer performance of The Lost Colony, the story of Roanoke, the first English colony in the New World, is a particularly popular event.

Shopping is primarily boutique-style, but there is a grocery and a farmers' market. Residents enjoy a couple of waterfront parks but no public beach.

Stately Victorians and Colonials and newer four square and plantation homes styles are the norm. Pirates Cove is a waterfront community.

Cost of Living

Manteo is an inviting coastal town with an overall cost of living 1% higher than the national average.

The median household income is $48,375.

Real Estate

The median home price is $358,515. This is a 12% increase over the previous year. For comparison, the national median home price is currently $341,600.

Estimates are that Manteo real estate prices will increase by 3% over the next year.

The median rental price is $905 per month.


Manteo has 1,475 residents and has grown by 2% during the last decade. It is crowded with vacationers in summer but is a quiet place in winter.

The median age is 52. For comparison, the median age of the U.S. population is 38.

There is no local medical center, but Outer Banks Hospital is three miles away in Nags Head.

The crime rate is slightly above the national average.

Hurricanes are not unknown here. Florence caused some damage in 2018 and Dorian brought flooding in 2019.


The combined sales tax rate is 6.75%. This is the total of state, county and city sales tax rates.

North Carolina does not tax Social Security but it taxes 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 Manteo is .62% The annual taxes on a $358,515 home are approximately $2,223.

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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