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

 

 

 

Great Tour On Sleepless In Seattle Dock

2460 westlake houseboatGreat Tour On Sleepless In Seattle Dock

Late in August is a great time of year to tour houseboats around Lake Union. Over the weekend we showed a long time married couple and current residents of Sammamish, WA several places listed on Lake Union. They have owned their Seattle suburbs home for over 20 years and yearn for change. They have a sailboat and like the idea of bringing it along side their future Seattle floating home so when they contacted us we jumped into action.

Are you curious where the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat dock is? People are still interested in 2460 Westlake Ave N. Seattle, Washington 98109.

Lake Union, Happy 4th of July! – Here Is Some Of The Latest In Seattle Floating Homes – Both In The MLS And Not Listed

Happy 4th Of July!

There is no better place in greater Seattle to enjoy the festivities of the 4th of July than Lake Union. I first discovered this about 15 years ago on the bow of a boat in Westlake snuggled up to my college boyfriend (thanks Pete) at the time. It was raining of course and it did not matter. The fireworks over Lake Union are nothing short of magical and each year it still surprises me how beautiful they are. It is never the same experience and I never tire of it.

Seattle is a jaw dropping fantastic place to live and work – anyone can find something special in this city. Lake Union special and Lake Union homes are special, so here are the latest on Seattle houseboats – both in Lake Union and Portage Bay.

Seattle houseboats for sale: Lots going on out there – both in the MLS and not in the MLS. I know of at least four Seattle floating homes that are not listed but are available or will be available soon and two of them are at the ends of the docks. End of dock moorage is always something people are interested in so it is fun to track how fast they sell. Let us know if you are interested in any off market Seattle houseboat opportunities so we can either get you in there or keep you posted as to their availability.

In looking at Seattle houseboats in the MLS (including floating homes, vessels, and barges) there are currently 19 opportunities*** to live life afloat on Lake Union or Portage Bay plus a handful of Lake Union slips available for new houseboat moorage. “Houseboats” is a general term and refers to all three types of homes that happen to be on the water. Seattle floating homes are the houseboats I generally refer to in most of the posts I write on SeattleAfloat and elsewhere.

So here are details on the current market regarding the Seattle floating homes for sale in the MLS right now:

Westlake & Northlake Houseboats – there are 4 Westlake houseboats in the NWMLS for sale right now ranging from $325,000 for a historic Seattle houseboat to $975,000 for a new beauty near the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat. In between those ranges, there is a great Westlake floating home on a wide channel with good views into Lake Union and opportunity for boat moorage for only $489,000. In Fremont there is a great dock: Lee’s Mooring and a beautiful floating home for sale on that one for $799,950.

Portage Bay Houseboats – Two floating homes there for sale in the MLS priced at $645,000 and $739,000 (E Shelby St & E Hamlin St).

Eastlake Houseboats: One of the Roanoke Reef houseboats on the front row is for sale- gorgeous views and nice spacious home $1,720,000, There are 4 other opportunities to live on Lake Union along Fairview in an existing houseboat. They range from $575,000 to $749,000 for the four Seattle floating homes for sale***. A really great one is this charming and beautiful Eastlake houseboat for sale on the Willow Dock – it has hardwood floors, a gas fireplace, wrap around deck, moorage for two boats, and lovely radiant heated slate floors in the bath. It is a really great buy on Lake Union at $625,000.

Lake Union Moorage Slips: If you are interested in building or having built a brand new construction houseboat, then look to Ward’s Cove which is one of last brand new Lake Union Moorage slips for sale. There are four in the MLS ranging from $675,000 to $930,000 for the slips on a state of the art dock.

Email us if you want to see any of these or have questions about Seattle floating homes in general. homes@SeattleAfloat.com Have a safe holiday!

***7/3/2010  Later day update:  New Seattle houseboat listing popped up in the MLS – there is now another Fairview houseboat listed – a one bedroom on one of the Log Foundation co-op docks for $495,000***

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

Sleepless in Seattle Houseboat

The Sleepless in Seattle houseboat – I guess we can’t very well have a Seattle houseboats and floating homes blog without having at least one story or post about the Sleepless in Seattle Houseboat!

It is a gorgeous home, but the fact of the matter is I heard that Tom Hanks didn’t film many of the scenes inside the actual floating home in Seattle. The exterior shots of him, though, are pretty unforgettable, and it brings many people out in droves as one of the must see items in Seattle. (ps – I took this picture a long time ago before a paint job)

Spotting the Sleepless in Seattle Houseboat: Unless you are on a boat, though, or across the lake with a telephoto lens, you are going to have a tough time getting a peek at this iconic Hollywood Seattle floating home. The dock is privately owned. Your best shot actually at seeing the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat if you are in town and don’t have a boat of your own to tool around Lake Union is to take the Ride The Ducks Tour by the Seattle Center. Try and sit on the right side of the bus/boat and wait for the tour guide to point it out along the way. The Sleepless in Seattle Houseboat is on the end of its Westlake dock and pretty significant in size compared to other floating homes.

Larger and not typical of Seattle floating homes – Keep in mind if you are thinking about buying a floating home that this particular houseboat is not very typical of Seattle floating homes in general. It is actually pretty spectacular even compared to the more modern Roanoke Reef floating homes or even the modern stucco 3000 square feet floating homes going in on the Eastlake side of Lake Union over the last few years. The Sleepless in Seattle Houseboat has one of the largest if not the largest floats in Lake Union and is also the furthest out on any of the docks that I can think of. The float size is an astounding 68 feet by 40 feet and offers wrap around decks! I would love to get a look at the dive inspection report for this one to see what is under there with the log foundation holding it up.

Putting aside the fact that it is well over 2000 square feet in size and has four bedrooms, these other individual characteristics set it apart pretty significantly. The Sleepless in Seattle houseboat will always hold a special place in my heart.

We are available to talk now.