Very Affordable, Low Maintenance Homes in a Mississippi Resort-Like Community Are Hard to Resist

Nestled in the far northeastern corner of Mississippi, close to Alabama and Tennessee, is the small town (population 3,100) of Iuka, built on the site of an old Chickasaw Indian village and named after one of its chieftains. This is a rural spot in the deep South and has an older population (nearly half the citizens are age 45 or better). It is also home to Pickwick Pines Resort, a large, pretty, planned community that is age-targeted; retirees and “second home” families reside here, drawn primarily by the very affordable housing in a resort-like setting.

Several years ago, Pickwick Pines Resort was named as one of the “Fabulous 50 Communities in the South,” and it is easy to understand why. This is an affordable community with excellent amenities, access to popular lake recreation and beautiful homes. There are seven model homes from which to choose; prices start at $99,500 for “The Cottage,” a 600 sq. ft., one bedroom, one bath dwelling with decorative dormer windows, a metal roof with a 50-year warranty, vinyl siding with a 50-year warranty, a landscaped lawn, covered front and back porches, recessed lighting, tiled floors, Berber carpet, French doors, bay windows, ceiling fans, an open kitchen and a step-in shower (but no garage). These are custom-built, site-built homes, not manufactured homes, making them all the more attractive.

The most expensive model is “The Country,” priced at $259,500, with 3,000 sq. ft., three bedrooms, three and a half baths, a separate formal dining room, an eat-in kitchen, a study, a game room/bonus room and a porte-cochere. There is even an in-ground fountain on the back patio. Between “The Cottage” and “The Country” are five more models ranging in price from $129,500 to $199,500. Call 1-800-559-7463 for more information. 10% down is required to secure a lot and lock in a home price as this is a growing development.

HOA fees are roughly $1,800 annually ($150 per month) and include use of all facilities and upkeep of common grounds, which are extensive and spread across 160 acres. An additional $600 per year is optional for homeowners whom would rather have the community take care of their lawn mowing and fertilizing. Utilities are each homeowner’s responsibility, but the rates are some of the lowest in the country. Pets are allowed (but must be kept on leases).

This is a private, gated development, and the amenities enjoyed by residents are top-notch. They include a 7,500 sq. ft. resort lodge (fireplace, dining area, grand piano and live entertainment on the weekends), a 14,000 sq. ft. activities center (gym, tanning beds, auditorium), 20′ x 40′ swimming pool, several smaller pools, tennis courts, boat storage, nature trails and well-lighted streets. There are monthly potlucks, pancake breakfasts, holiday celebrations and more, all contributing to a welcoming sense of community.

Pickwick Lake is just a mile away and beckons to people throughout the region. Camping and water skiing are favorite activities, as is fishing (the lake is noted for its small mouth bass and catfish). A private marina is also in the works. The nearby Tennessee River is known as a great fishing destination as well. Shiloh National Military Park is a must for history buffs (Iuka itself was the site of a significant Civil War battle), and four nearby golf courses (within 20 miles), including the Shiloh Falls Golf Course (which hosts the annual St. Jude’s Charity Golf Tournament), give retirees plenty of opportunities to hit the links.

Iuka seems to be a rather peaceful rural spot, and it appears to be a fairly safe place, just not one with a lot happening. The area surrounding the town is pretty, though, with hills and woods peeking through the morning mist. The closest city with a population of at least 50,000 is Jackson, Tennessee, 70 miles to the northwest. Tupelo, Mississippi has about 35,000 people and is roughly 70 miles to the southwest. Several small towns are within 10 to 20 miles of Iuka.

Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s; winter temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. Average humidity is high, settling in around 70% in the afternoons, with 5 to 7 inches of rain per month. Tornadoes occasionally occur.