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 May 2012

seattle floating homesSeattle Floating Homes Market Update  May 2012

Inventory is still low.  There are only SIX Seattle floating homes on the market right now.  They range in price form $350,000 for a 2 bedroom 1 bath 1000 square foot floating home in Westlake to $2,150,000 for a 2 bedroom 1.75 bath 2216 square feet Seattle floating home on Portage Bay with extra moorage for great Lake Union slip rental income potential.  In addition there are still some Ward’s Cove slips available if you are interested in new construction Seattle floating homes.

Other Seattle floating homes for sale are on docks located at 2821 Fairview Ave E, 933 N Northlake Way (lee’s Moorings), 2201 Fairview Ave E, and 1215 E Allison St – these are all in Westlake, Eastlake, and Portage Bay, as well as Northlake for the Lee’s Mooring dock.

Pending in Escrow:  There is a Roanoke Reef floating home for sale that is currently pending after being on the market for just 8 days (Roanoke Reef floating home owners, please take note:  If your home did not sell on that dock then it was not priced right or was not marketed correctly or in some cases, both.).  This was a 2 bedroom 2.5 bath 1931 square feet floating home listed at $1,295,000.

Latest SOLD Seattle floating homes: 2770 Westlake Ave N, Houseboat #5 – a 2 bedroom 1 bath Seattle floating home on the Old Boathouse dock.  It is 987 square feet and was listed for $475,000 and finally sold after 285 days for $407,000.  One thing to consider when looking at the price this one sold for versus the list price is the Aurora Bridge overhead which did make some buyers shy away.  It is interesting because stand on the dock for five minutes and you won’t even notice the bridge. Add to that the bonus this lucky buyer got was on eof the biggest floating “back yards” on Lake Union.

You can find the full NWMLS print out here for the current Seattle Floating Homes market, but if you have specific questions about Seattle houseboats for sale, please let me know.  I am happy to help. :

seattle floating homes market update

There are some new financing options out there for Seattle floating homes – if you want to get in to the market, you will need special financing, insurance, etc. I am happy to help you navigate.  Oh!  Also ask me about getting a sneak peek of my next Seattle floating home listing….   -Courtney Cooper 206-850-8841  courtney@cooperjacobs.com

Seattle Houseboats Real Estate Market Update

Seattle Houseboats Real Estate Market Update

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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.

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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

Seattle Houseboats For Sale: Current Floating Homes Market

Wow! A lot can happen in a week! Bring out the sun and outcome the Seattle houseboats for sale! I wanted to update you all on the new floating homes and give you an overall idea of the market. There are now 13 Seattle floating homes for sale – They range from $349,990 for a 100 year old beauty on a co-op dock in Westlake to $1,720,000 for a fee simple ownership floating home in beautiful Roanoke Reef. The median price for these Seattle floating homes for sale is $725,000.

There are currently 4 Westlake floating homes for sale – 2 in Westlake Cove, 1 on the 2420 dock, and a beauty on the dock just North of the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat. This particular one is in the same co-op as Sleepless, but on the South half of the dock just North of it and it is gorgeous! I got a chance to stop in yesterday and see it before my open house. It is listed by famed Rick Miner and he showed me all the great features of this brand new floating home listing. New construction in floating homes is rare and this one is worth seeing!

Seven of these floating homes are in Eastlake. Most Seattle houseboats in Eastlake are on Fairview Ave E, but there are a few docks that fall into other streets. The least expensive floating home on Fairview is a beautiful 1930 houseboat with hardwood floors, radiant heated slate bathroom, roof top view deck, double moorage for multiple boats, and gas on the dock. It is on the beautiful Willow Dock which gets its name from the amazing tree at it’s shore side. There is also a larger floating home on the shore end of the dock with huge spaces – listed at $650,000.

Two homes from the Log Foundation are currently for sale – This is a wonderful floating home community at the South end of Fairview and offers beautiful city views. These are great two bedrooms at $725,000 and $749,000 and happen to be a couple that I love going into. There is also one in Mallard Cove for $1,250,000 – a larger home at 2000 square feet and quite beautiful. The last in Eastlake is the Roanoke Reef home that is currently for sale – it is on the very South end of the dock and has some great spaces including a basement of sorts. In addition, there is one floating home moorage site at Ward’s Cove that offers the newest in floating homes for Seattle. It is listed at $850,000 for the slip.

Other areas of Seattle floating homes: Lee’s Moorings in Northlake aka Fremont has a floating home for sale with a wall of windows – one bedroom at $799,950. It is one of the brightest floating homes we have seen and worth the visit if you are in the market. The dock is very nice, too. Over in Portage Bay, there is a houseboat on Hamlin which just came up for $645,000 – a one bedroom with 800 square feet of living space, but unique shape and quite appealing. I know of one on Boat Street also – high $400’s, brand new, and a great location near the U-District. It is listed with a broker, but has not shown up in the MLS as of yet. I happened to see it while checking on my friend’s houseboat on that dock. The Boat Street dock is leased moorage owned by the University of Washington so the homes are lesser in price, but not as much security for your moorage as an owned dock.

Pending Houseboat Sales – Two Seattle floating homes went pending this last week – one of my favorites on the Lake Union dock in Eastlake and a jaw dropping remodel job in Westlake at the Old Boathouse dock under the Aurora Bridge (This particular one got three offers in a matter of two days). It is gorgeous, too – completely unique and the fridge was an upscale drawer model which really opened up the spaces in there. It has a stunning spiral staircase going up to its view bedrooms and a view deck plus a roof top deck – just amazing. I am sure the lucky new owner will love living there!

Happy Summer!!! That is all for now – let me know if you are interested in seeing any of these at all – I can also help you find the financing and other particular items you need to buy a floating home. courtney@seattleafloat.com

Floating Home Gardening: Trees on Houseboat Docks

The Willow Tree although it is so big that it is impossible for a camera to do it justice...

Seattle houseboat gardening – what about trees without containers?  It happens…

Every once in a while, I just have to stop and look at some of the most amazing things that can happen in nature. The first time I saw a full grown tree growing out of the water was at a Log Foundation dock in Eastlake and I have been amazed by it ever since. Each year it gets bigger as if it is growing on a hillside instead of in a lake.

Trees add a lot to the landscape of Seattle houseboats.  Having all the greenery somehow magically transports you right out of the city that you happened to be living in the middle of.

Tree trunk on houseboat dock...

Lake Union & Portage Bay houseboats have some fascinating trees – one example is the gigantic willow tree at the entrance to the Willow Dock in Eastlake. This tree is a thing of beauty if you ever get the chance to just walk by and take a peek (2321 Fairview Ave E).  It is actually growing out of the ground on the banks of Lake Union and not on the dock itself, but it is so incredible that I could not just omit it.

There are some other great examples, too. The Old Boathouse Dock over in Westlake near the Aurora Bridge has a whole grove of trees that are flourishing and providing great habitat and natural settings…

Lake Union Views mingle with tree tops on one Westlake Dock

 Share your great Seattle houseboat ideas, too! 

Make sure and send in some of your pictures if you have trees on your docks – I would love to see them or any of your floating garden pictures or ideas!  Seattle houseboaters are among the most creative gardeners I have ever seen!  You can email them to me at courtney@SeattleAfloat.com and thank you in advance!

We are available to talk now.