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Southport, North Carolina

Idyllic Southport sits at the mouth of the Cape Fear River in southeastern North Carolina and was for years a steamship port. In recent times, it has been the shooting location for numerous TV shows and movies, including Dawson's Creek and Crimes of the Heart.

The air smells of salt, and seagulls fly over the weathered waterfront. Riverboat crewmen, shrimpers and Civil War blockade runners have all left their mark on this coastal village and its tall Pilots River Tower still beckons to Intracoastal Waterway boatmen.

Tourists swell the population every summer. In fact, nearly 60,000 visitors come during the 4th of July just to watch the fireworks over the water. Golf courses have popped up in recent years, and a large gated community, St. James Plantation, is just outside of town.

The charming downtown boasts colorful shops and painted benches. A handful of marinas offer everything from deli sandwiches to laundry services. Waterfront Park has benches and river views. Nearby Oak Island is home to long, clean beaches with free parking.

Cost of Living

Southport is an idyllic coastal town with an overall cost of living 15% lower than the national average.

The median household income is $53,996.

Real Estate

The median home price is $305,645. This is a 13% increase over the previous year. For comparison, the national median home price is currently $380,000 (Realtor.com)

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

The median rental price is $915 per month.


Southport has 3,800 residents and has grown by 25% during the last decade.

The median age is 56. For comparison, the median age of the U.S. population is 38.

Dosher Memorial Hospital is the local medical center.

The crime rate is below the national average.

Hurricanes are not unknown here. Florence caused some damage in 2018.


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 Southport is .63% The annual taxes on a $305,645 home are approximately $1,926.

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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