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 Houseboats Are Exceptional!

Seattle floating homesSeattle Houseboats Are Exceptional!

It is said that the “houseboat capital of the world” is in British Columbia on Shuswap Lake. This may or may not be true but worth exploring. Seattle houseboat culture began back even before 1905 with the earliest recordings of property and in the 1930’s the number of Seattle houseboats peaked at approximately 2,000. Now there are only about 500 left and this is why sale prices are breaking historic records.

Think about it, Canada has stunning waterways which form lakes and rivers that are ideal for houseboats. Cities like Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec have some of the most scenic bodies of water one can find in the world. Houseboats in Canada are typically motorized and moved around for recreation in contrast to the Lake Union houseboats that are more often moored as permanent dwellings. That’s OK Canada because I personally find it difficult to stay in one place for very long. this all being said, there are some beautiful floating homes in Vancouver.

You may be asking why I’m referencing Shuswap Lake in my blog…consider how close of a neighbor these folks are and a relatively short distance for a friendly visit. They should not be threatened by visitors because it’s not like our Seattle houseboats are going to take the place of their boats. They’re far to difficult to move. We simply have something in common to share and it’s fun exploring.

It’s neat that our houseboat cultures are similar in that residing over water and having access to Seattle Waterfront Living℠ is an option for home buyers and vacationers. Many houseboats are available to rent in waterways outside of Lake Union and Portage Bay. Lake Shasta or Shasta Dam as it’s called in California is an example of where recreational house boating thrives and Lake Cumberland, Kentucky is considered to be the birthplace of house boating in the United States. The Columbia River and the Willamette River showcasing the neighborhood of Hayden Island in Portland, Oregon has many Portland houseboats. Many of the Portland Floating homes moorages are perfectly located for relatively short commutes to downtown Portland and also the recreational offerings of fishing, water skiing and kayaking. Houseboats are also available for rent in Central Oregon on Lake Billy Chinook. There are many coves to anchor the houseboat and water skiing is popular here.

Houseboats on Lake Union and Portage Bay are here to stay and what a life!

Exceptional living for folks who love being near water.  It is important to know that “Seattle houseboats” is a general term which refers to Seattle floating homes, vessels, and barges.  Seattle floating homes are the closest to true real estate versus the other types of houseboats.
If you have questions about Seattle houseboats for sale call my friend Courtney Cooper 206-850-8841 or email courtney@cooperjacobs.com

Seattle Floating Homes: Why You Need The Security Of OWNED Moorage Vs. A Rented Slip

Why You Need The Security Of OWNED Moorage Vs. A Rented Slip

Don’t buy a floating home in a rented slip when there are Seattle floating homes for sale with the security of an owned slip!!!  Why on Earth would you want your investment to not be secure?  The city of Seattle has been dwindling down the Seattle floating community for a hundred years with regular new ordinances and it is more important now than ever to make sure that you are purchasing a floating home that is either on a fee simple dock, a condominium dock, or a co-op dock.  Leased slips are not secure and when you go to sell it, you will have trouble finding buyers who can obtain financing.  The few lenders who lend on Seattle floating homes don’t like to do it on leased docks unless there is a long term lease in place.  
 
Can the seller obtain owned moorage from their landlord?  Ask them!  
 

Here is an example of a Seattle floating home for sale that is in its secure OWNED slip: (UPDATE: THIS SEATTLE HOUSEBOAT IS NOT FOR SALE ANYMORE)

Enjoy life afloat in Seattle in one of the most private spots along Westlake: Large kitchen & wonderful sleeping loft, plus a great office. Newer roof and deck – Great access to Downtown, Queen Anne & Fremont, walking/cycling trails (including the Cheshiahud Loop) w/ all the perks of living on Lake Union!  If you are looking for Amazon Housing or other Housing near South Lake Union, then this is a GREAT Choice!

2764 Westlake Ave N Houseboat # D

seattle floating homesOffered at just $255,000

  •   (Co-op owned moorage is a very secure way to own the land that your  is in) Owned Lake Union Moorage Seattle floating home
  • LOW Taxes and dues (you will be shocked at the affordability compared to the warnings some might give you as to the affordability of a Seattle floating home)
  • LOW Mortgage Interest rates available (ask me for referrals for your Seattle Houseboat financing needs because it is different than a traditional mortgage in requirements and terms)
  • Sleeping loft with room to go up below city height restrictions.
  • extra room for office or second sleeping room
  • large bathroom can accomodate a full laundry suite
  • ridiculously large entertaining kitchen
  • Very friendly dock from my experiences there
  • Westlake Cove is quite protected from rougher waters in parts of Lake Union

This is a great Seattle floating home for sale – you can compare it to other Seattle houseboats for sale right now and see that this one is a GREAT BUY!  It is the most affordable Seattle floating home on the market with owned moorage.

Reminded Of Seattle Floating Homes Uniqueness

Reminded Of Seattle Floating Homes Uniqueness :

It is always interesting when I come across communities that seem to have the same unique feel or humble beginnings of our Seattle floating homes community. Of course there are floating homes elsewhere – Portland Houseboats and Sausilito to specifically name a couple closer neighbors, but nationally and globally as well. One of my favorite Miami Beach Realtors, Ines has a great real estate site and introduced me to one of Miami’s unique communities of the past. Although Stiltsville is not an active community today, it’s colorful and interesting past reminds me of the the Seattle floating homes community and the backstory that has spanned over a 100 years in our community.

Check out her great write up on Stiltsville and read about the history of this cool community: http://www.miamism.com/stiltsville-a-miami-landmark/ and definitely check out Ines Hegedus-Garcia if you are interested in Miami Beach Real Estate.

If you are interested in Seattle Houseboats for sale, we have some great ones about to come on the market and some cool ones listed currently. Let us know what type of Lake Union home or Portage Bay floating home you are interested in living in.

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Lake Union Moorage Slips In Demand

Lake Union Moorage Slips In Demand

Spring in Seattle has sprung and the Cooper Jacobs office is ringing with inqueries for space on Lake Union. Recent sales of moorage slips are in the range of $75,000 to $125,000 for slips around the lake excluding Wards Cove.  Due to the lack of inventory prices have remained strong and even appear to be increasing from the data we look at.

Wards Cove Listings  are the newest slips available on Lake Union and could be some of the last to ever be developed. There are only a few out of the original twelve available.  A slip at Wards Cove sold on December 28, 2011 which was listed for $885,000 and SOLD for $850,000.  Another was listed for $850,000 and SOLD for $682,000 in July 2011. One listed for sale at $735,000 SOLD for $685,000 on October 25, 2011. Houseboats on Lake Union and Portage Bay are two of Seattle’s strongest real estate markets. More houseboats are being designed and built for Wards Cove and the remaining slips are going quickly so don’t miss the boat! I personally see more and more Seattle houseboats around Lake Union being completely renovated. This is not only good for the local economy like the contractors, suppliers and banks lending the money but also a significant indication that these property values are holding strong.

Cooper Jacobs has a Westlake floating home coming on the market soon and if you want a sneak peak email Courtney at courtney@cooperjacobs.com or conatct her at 206/850-8841 to schedule a tour. It’s a great time to be in the know so if you want an evaluation of your property call Courtney Cooper. Recently, across ‘the pond’ from Wards Cove there was a slip at Gas Works Park Marina that was listed for sale by another real estate agency at $75,000 and sold for $70,000 in 16 days which in our opinion was underpriced. Don’t miss out!

Check out listings for Seattle houseboats at  Seattle Houseboats For Sale.

We are available to talk now.