Are Houseboats Drifting Away?

2143 North Northlake Way #18

2143 North Northlake Way

Are Seattle Houseboats Drifting Away?

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about Seattle houseboats in the news lately.  And if you receive your news from just one source, it might sound like Seattle houseboats are drifting away.

So what’s really going on? What is the dispute over?  One could argue it’s really about should private people be taking over public space.

In broad terms, the dispute is about freeing up the shorelines on parts of Lake Union.  According to the state law, water dependent (vs water oriented) businesses and industries, shoreline restoration and public access are all given priority.  With this in mind, some city council members say shorelines should be preserved for recreational and water-dependent uses (aka not houseboats).  Yet other city committee representatives say they want to protect the Seattle lifestyle of houseboats.  Yep, definitely confusing.  But one thing is crystal clear:  current houseboat owners and liveaboards say they’re tired of battling for their chosen lifestyle, investment, and freedom to live and just want to be left alone after years of this with the city.

Big agencies like The Planning Land Use and Sustainability Committee, State Department of Ecology, Coast Guard, and Lake Union Liveaboard Association are all trying to come to an agreement about what defines a houseboat.  The due date of January 14th is fast approaching to make this distinction and it’s complex to say the least.  By current standards, a houseboat is treated as a water oriented vessel.  Most should have propulsion, safety equipment, steering and navigational lights, and all already have a black water holding tank, also title and registration. One must beg the question: How is this standard different than say a sailboat, yacht or ferry which are all legal and not up for debate.

Some LULU members (Lake Union Liveaboard Association) remind city officials that houseboats have been around Seattle waters even before it was a city.  Naturally, anger and resentment have come to an all time high for the liveaboards, houseboat builders, marina owners, local vendors and businesses.

I want to be clear there is a difference between houseboats and floating homes in Seattle.  The 500 floating homes in Lake Union and Portage Bay are completely void of these litigation’s.  Floating homes, unlike houseboats, are floating structures usually consisting of logs or concrete which are connected to city water/sewer and are considered “real property” and remain in place by a very heavy moorage arm and do not move from their location.

I understand with the growing population and the fascination of such an intriguing lifestyle, the state/city would want certain regulations intact.  There are essentially two arguments going on simultaneously:  preserving the shoreline for recreational and “water-dependent” use and the defining a houseboat.  The houseboat community is no stranger to reinforcing their lifestyle to the city.  These are folks who care deeply about their lake and go to great lengths to pacify others in order to remain there.  This will not change and it will not change without a fight.

If you’d like more information about houseboats or floating homes please feel free to contact me via email at molly@cooperjacobs.com

 

 

 

Seattle Floating Homes Market Update – End of August 2011

Seattle Floating Homes Market Update – End of August 2011 (Is that possible????)seattle houseboats

Here we are 8/31/2011.  Summer is pretty much over although it finally feels like we are getting some warmer weather here and there.  Seattle houseboats are still well into their prime season and the choices afloat on Lake Union are vast.  If you are interested in buying a Seattle houseboat, now is a great time to look.  I actually haven’t seen so many choices in the last few years at one time – and they are in all price ranges.

Current offerings range from $219,950 for a little guy on Boyer Ave E to $1,395,000 for one of the Roanoke Reef houseboats.  There are 16 Seattle floating homes on the market right now with a median price of $650,000.  You can find these Seattle houseboats on Lake Union docks in Eastlake, Westlake, and Portage Bay.  There are leased and owned moorage options.  Let us know if you are curious about what might be the best fit for you.

Seattle Floating Homes Sales Numbers August 2011 – How is the houseboat market?

There have been 4 Seattle floating homes that have closed in the last 30 days on the NWMLS. These sold housbeoats range in price from $355,000 for a Westlake Cove houseboat to $2,885,000 for a modern beauty on the Fairview Landings dock with a median price of $632,500.  The average days on market for them is 212 days and the sales price to list price percentage is 88.01%.

Here are some details of these sold Seattle floating homes:  The average sales price to list price % on these is 88.01%

  • 2764 Westlake Ave N #C Listed and Sold by Cooper Jacobs Real Estate listed for $399,000sold for $355,000 (SP/LP:  88.97% – exceeds average)
  • 2019 Fairview Ave E #R  Listed for 625,000/sold for $575,000 with 13 days on market (seems like a motivated seller)(SP/LP:  92% – exceeds average)
  • 2031 Fairview Ave E #B  Listed for $789,000/sold for $690,000 (SP/LP:  87.45% – below average)
  • 2369 Fairview Ave E #6 Listed for $3,800,ooo originally, dropped to $3,450,000, sold for $2,885,000 (LOWEST SP/LP:  83.62% – below average)
Cooper Jacobs has one of the highest sales price to list price % on these closed Seattle floating homes sales – please call if you need a market analysis of your floating home:  Courtney Cooper  206-850-8841  or email courtney@cooperjacobs.com

Seattle Houseboats Real Estate Market Update

Seattle Houseboats Real Estate Market Update

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seattle houseboats for sale

There are pretty amazing choices right now and there are some once in a lifetime opportunities available as far as properties, price, location, and more.  In all, there are 13 Seattle floating homes for sale that are currently marked as Active listings in the Seattle MLS.  In addition to those, there is also a once in a lifetime custom houseboat at 11 E Allison and Lake Union floating home moorage at Ward’s Cove.

Westlake & Northlake Floating Homes For Sale:

There are five Seattle floating homes in Westlake & Northlake for sale right now in the MLS which range in price from $325,000 to $975,000.  The most affordable of these is priced at $325,000 for  a charming 100 year old historic houseboat which also happens to be a bargain condo alternative for anyone thinking about moving to Seattle or South Lake Union.  Another great Westlake houseboat is priced at $450,000 and offers two bedrooms, a sauna, available Lake Union moorage for up to 20 feet and one of the bigger decks on the lake.

Eastlake Floating Homes For Sale:

There are five Eastlake Houseboats for sale that are marked as Active in the MLS right now. These range in price from $$495,000 to $1,720,000 and include many  choices on wonderful docks like The Log Foundation, Roanoke Reef, Willow Dock, and more (Look for great Seattle houseboats on these Eastlake docks during the upcoming Seattle Floating Homes Tour).

A nice houseboat option which has lots of space and excellent upgrades is the 1930’s 2 bedroom home on the Willow Dock.

This dock is a co-op which means your moorage is owned not leased. It is a nice dock and has extras like gas plumbed.  This Eastlake floating home has a gas fireplace and cooking which is pretty special.  It also is two bedrooms plus a sleeping loft, a roof top deck, and remodeled bath.  There are hardwood and slate floors, and it is bestowed with a  Lake Union moorage slip for a companion boat!  You can see it if you are coming to the Seattle Floating Homes Association Tour because it will be open in addition to others on tour and is on the same dock as another houseboat on tour.  It is priced at $595,000 and dues/taxes are LOW.

Portage Bay Floating Homes For Sale:

There are two Portage Bay floating homes for sale marked as Active in the MLS right now – these range from $715,000 to $795,000.  Portage Bay offers some nice amenities and is a little quieter than Eastlake, but just a hop over the hill to all the action.

Recent Seattle Houseboat Real Estate Activity:

There are two Seattle floating homes that are marked as Pending Inspection in the MLS right now.  One of these is on E Hamlin in Portage Bay and the other is on The Dox dock in Eastlake.  They are priced at $645,000 and $2,250,000.

Recent Houseboat MLS Sales Include 3 Seattle Floating Homes:

A Mallard Cove floating home listed for $1,250,000 sold  on 7/15/2010 at $1,242,500 (99.4% SP /LP).  A beautiful custom remodel sold on The Old Boathouse Dock in Westlake on 7/15/2010 – it was listed for $749,950 and sold at 98.67% of list for $740,ooo with multiple offers.  A nice Lake Union floating home in Eastlake was listed for $749,000 and closed on 8/27/2010 after selling for 90.32% of list for $676,500.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Written By Courtney Cooper, Designated Broker of Cooper Jacobs Real Estate Services, Founder of SeattleAfloat.com.

We are proud sponsors and volunteers of this year’s Seattle Floating Homes Tour.  Please call if you are interested in a Seattle houseboat – we are happy to walk you through the process and show you all the houseboats available – no matter who they are listed with! 206-850-8841  courtney@SeattleAfloat.com

Eastlake Seattle Houseboats Dock Highlight – The Log Foundation

Looking at Houseboats and wondering about some of the docks?

Dock rules and By-Laws change, but here are some basics.

The Log Foundation is a group of 3 docks at and are on the three most South Seattle Floating homes docks just North of Terry Pettus Park.  The Log Foundation is a co-op.  This means the submerged land that their dock is on (less the DNR leased land) is cooperatively owned by the homeowners on the dock.

The Log Foundation addresses are:

2017 Fairview Ave E

2019 Fairview Ave E

2025 Fairview Ave E

Lake Union fluctuates almost two feet and is at its lowest point in August.  These three docks are not floating docks and so the houses go up and down depending on the water level in Lake Union while the dock stays the same height.  This requires stepping down or up to get on and off the houseboat or the dock.  Many clever home owners have come up with wonderful solutions.

Houseboaters in general tend to be quite considerate and thoughtful people, but The Log Foundation has some WONDERFUL people on it and the docks have great Southerly views of the city and Space Needle.  You can check for Seattle floating homes for sale on these docks by visiting our Seattle houseboats page on Cooper Jacobs.

We are available to talk now.