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Wichita Falls, Texas

One hundred forty miles northwest of Dallas, Wichita Falls (population 106,000) sits next to the Wichita River in the Red River Valley and is a pleasant, unpretentious place. It was once dependent on oil and railroad money, but today, Sheppard Air Force Base, which is just outside of town, drives the local economy.

Residents enjoy some nice parks, a riverwalk, a water park and an extensive biking and walking trail. Midwestern State University has athletic events, and the beautiful Kemp Center for the Arts hosts the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra, as well as art classes and workshops. The falls after which the city is named were destroyed by a flood in the late-1800s, so now an attractive artificial waterfall sits along the river.

The Downtown Wichita Falls Farmers' Market happens in the charming, brick-lined historic district and receives rave reviews. Its twice a year Long Table event brings diners together under the stars and highlights the Valley's best locally grown food.

Lake Wichita provides opportunities for boating, hiking and fishing, as does nearby Lake Arrowhead State Park and 16,000-acre Lake Arrowhead.

Cost of Living

Wichita Falls has overall cost of living 39% less than the national average. The median household income is $47,445.

Real Estate

The median home price in Wichita Falls is $132,000. This is a 20% increase over the previous year. For comparison, the national median home price is currently $363,000 (Realtor.com).

Estimates are that Wichita Falls real estate values will increase by 6% over the next year.

The median rental price is $750 per month.

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Notes

Wichita Falls has maintained its population within the last decade.

The crime rate meets the national average.

The median age is 33. The national median is 38.

Wichta Falls has several hospitals, including United Regional Health Care.

The tornado risk is 202% higher than the national average, and the city was heavily damaged by twisters in 1964 and 1979.

Some people say that Wichita Falls is stuck in the 1950s, which can be good or bad, depending on one's point of view.

Taxes

The combined sales tax rate for Wichita Falls is 8.25%.

Texas does not have an income tax, so no retirement income, including Social Security, is taxed at the state level.

The state offers a $25,000 property tax exemption for all homeowners. People age 65 or better may claim an additional exemption of $10,000.

The average effective property tax rate (the annual tax payment as a percentage of median home value) in Wichita Falls is 1.94%. The annual taxes on a $132,000 home are approximately $2,560, without an exemption.

Desire a Nicer Home Without a Mortgage Payment?

If so, consider a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for Purchase. This is a reverse mortgage that lets people age 62+ purchase a new home by using a reverse mortgage.

How does it work? Buyers must put down approximately 45% to 62% of the new home's purchase price, depending on the buyer's age and other factors. This money usually comes from the buyer selling his current home. The rest of the purchase funds come from the HECM loan.

For example, a person sells his home and nets $250,000 from the sale. With a HECM for Purchase Loan he can then buy a new $450,000 home by putting down $225,000 (50%), keeping $25,000 cash in his pocket and financing the remaining $225,000 home price with the reverse mortgage loan. Best yet, the buyer will have no monthly mortgage payments.

Talk to a reputable reverse mortgage lender for more information.

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