“Down around Biloxi / pretty girls are dancing in the sea / They all look like sisters in the ocean / The boy will fill his pail with salty water / and the storms will blow off towards New Orleans.” (-Jimmy Buffett, “Biloxi”)
If you like subtropical weather – we're talking warm, wet winters with an almost zero chance of snow and hot, humid summers – Biloxi, Mississippi has what you need. Home to more than 50,000 people and boasting eight casinos, Biloxi has a bustling tourism industry and is also home to the Keesler Air Force Base. Located right next to Gulfport, Biloxi is the smaller of the two cities and is situated directly on the Mississippi sound with barrier islands out into the Gulf of Mexico, making it vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes.
How to Find an Apartment
When Should I Look For an Apartment?
To find a place in Biloxi, you're going to need to go against the herd. Tourism flocks to the city between May and the beginning of August, so it'll be incredibly difficult to find a permanent place then. Not to mention, the weather is a lot hotter, with an average temperature of 90 and humidity at 90% (is anyone else reminded of waiting in line at Disney World?). You can always go out in August, September, and October, but keep in mind its hurricane season, and Helen Hunt won't be there to save you from those high winds and flooding risks while you're in the midst of moving.
Bring the Basics
Occupancy rates in Biloxi tend to fluctuate around about eighty percent, so there is a chance that finding apartments for rent where you're looking could be fairly easy. Don't get too lackadaisical about the process, though; you might just lose that perfect place by doing so.
When you find something that looks right for you, make an appointment with the landlord and make sure to be courteous. You may even want to bake them some cookies. After all, southern hospitality is big in Mississippi, and you might be surprised how far a little common courtesy and friendly behavior can take you.
Don’t rely on just your charming manner to seal the deal. Show up on time, and treat the whole process with respect, just as you would a job interview. Make a folder with credit reports, the rental application, and a letter of employment (or recent pay stubs). Rental references can also have a big impact, so stuff those in there if you have them. If you have pets, bring along their recent records, as well. Bring your checkbook along with you, too: nothing makes a landlord happier than someone who can write out a check for first month’s rent and the security deposit right on the spot.
How Much Will It Cost?
The average rent for a one bedroom apartment in the Biloxi area is $675, and the average for a two bedroom apartment is $754. This is actually lower than the rates for Biloxi in 2005, so, unlike so many other parts of the country, it's a great time to move there. Be warned, though: the city is still recuperating from Katrina, and rental and home prices are on the rise. If you don't act now, you may have to pay more down the line.
As with all coastal towns, the closer you live to the water, the more you pay for your home. Biloxi is no different, and you should keep that in mind when looking for an apartment.
Cedar Lake: It has a wide variety of residents and medium rents. Some military personnel live in the area.
Wool Market: Almost 36% of the working population in Wool Market is employed in executive, management or professional occupations. Rents are a tad higher than other nearby areas, but compared to the U.S. average, they are actually low.
Pass Road / Fernwood Road: This is a mixed area all the way around. Rents are lower here and it’s a hip, trendy area of the city to live in, so it is a great place for the younger crowd.
Irish Hill: Irish Hill is comprised mostly of small to medium single-family homes and apartment complexes. Vacancies are at about thirty percent, due to the high seasonal rentals. Easy access to everything you need within walking distance. Great place to find an apartment, but you will pay more for the convenience.
Ploesti Drive / J Street: The safest place in Biloxi to live, Ploesti has a multitude of apartments and apartment complexes. Many college students and military personnel live in the area. Rents are higher here compared to the rest of the city.
Living in Biloxi
If you can’t walk to everything you need in Biloxi, don’t despair: public transportation is available every day except Sunday. CTA provides affordable, safe, and dependable transport to everywhere in the city and beyond. Buses run from 6 am to 7 pm.
Adding Up the Facts
While Biloxi has a higher cost of living than the rest of Mississippi, it also has higher salaries and relatively low-cost rents. The job market is good now, and is projected to be even better in the near future. If you can put up with the tropical storms that the city is prone to, it is a great place to live.