seattle floating homes

Let’s Talk Home Sales: Covid-19 And Real Estate On The Lake

Portage Bay Floating Homes

Obviously Coronavirus and Covid-19 have had a mind blowing effect on the world we live in. Real estate is no different in that regard.  When the governor first shut the state down, we were worried about the impact that this would have on our economy overall, but specifically with regard to Seattle real estate and especially the Seattle floating homes market which is my home. What we have found is an actual significant uptick in the Seattle houseboats and floating homes market.  My ongoing theory has been that people would much rather be quarantined to the natural beauty of our floating homes neighborhood rather than stuck somewhere else. While I have worried for my friends and family, I personally have really enjoyed being quarantined at home with my son. It doesn’t quite feel like being shut in when you have the boat parade and water scenery before you all the time. Walks around Lake Union, Portage Bay, through the empty UW campus, and surrounding neighborhoods have added depth to our experiences, but I keep coming back to the peace and serenity I feel on the water. I think that this global pandemic has caused a lot of people to reevaluate their living situations.

So how has this affected our Seattle floating home community’s real estate market? 

Seattle houseboats Realtors Courtney Cooper and Molly Cartwright with Seattle Afloat at KW North Seattle getting a floating home ready to be shown.

Surprisingly well believe it or not!  I ran numbers on Seattle floating home sales beginning with the lock down (not including other kinds of houseboats – just floating homes). The dates are 3/16/20-6/27/20 as of this writing. I then ran the numbers for the same period in 2019.  The results are astounding!  We have a 217.60% increase in volume year over year.  This accurately represents what we are experiencing. 

March 16th – June 27th 2020:  Ten Seattle floating homes are either Pending or have sold during this time frame with a total volume of $15,841,000.  Molly Cartwright and I were/are involved with  eight out of ten of these or 80% of the ten floating homes sold or pending. 

March 16 – June 27th 2019: Five Seattle floating homes sold during this same time period in 2019. HALF! The volume was even lower at $7,280,000.  Molly and I were involved in three out of the five of these sales or in other words 60% of the homes that sold during that time. 

Uptick in Seattle Houseboats real estate seems to boil down to a few things: 

  • More targeted and precise marketing by us for floating homes listed
  • More serious Seattle houseboats buyers – they are goal oriented, qualified, and determined.
  • More desirable floating homes to be quarantined to – our Seattle houseboats community overall is magical
  • Increased availability – Some of our long time residents have decided to sell what I consider to be legacy properties resulting in floating homes that we haven’t seen listed in decades.

As a real estate broker, I can say that our industry has been turned upside down with this.  We have added more virtual tours, photographs, video walkthroughs, and property films than ever before. There have been no open houses.  When we were finally allowed to show or inspect homes it was with limited people to the point that in the beginning husbands and wives had to take turns looking with one of us.  Masks and gloves are the new norm.  Inspections were performed with the agent and inspector facetiming the buyers out in their car.  No flyers.  No business cards.  No new signs because the sign company was not considered essential.  Even moving companies were not considered essential. The state has opened up more and it is easier to buy and sell real estate, but restrictions are still in place and will be for a long time. We adapt and excel.  Change is always inevitable and it is important to be able to switch gears to best represent your clients safely.  We have got this! 

The restrictions put in place over this pandemic have actually been beneficial for our sellers who understand and follow our advice. Open houses do not sell homes and invited a lot of “lookie loos” and we spent a lot of effort educating what were sometimes just tourists about our lifestyle on the lake. We are now able to qualify buyer prospects more stringently and we go through an entire run down before we ever go in a house. We sanitize our listings before and after showings. We make sure anyone in your home is wearing masks and gloves. Marketing material is virtual and so our sellers have a “leg up” because we already are the leaders online for floating home marketing. It has been fascinating to watch some of these properties change hands.  

seattle houseboats for sale

Thank you. Molly and I are so very thankful for the opportunity and grateful for the chance to advocate for you and this special neighborhood of floating homes in which I call home. We will never take it for granted. Please reach out if you need anything at all houseboats@coopercartwright.com 206-841-6800 or 206-850-8841

Welcome To The Shelby Dock

Welcome to the newly redone Shelby Dock! Upscale dock rebuild and incredible channel views make this the ideal spot to call home! Just listed by Molly Cartwright and Courtney Cooper for $765,000 call/text Molly or Courtney to see it 206-841-6800/206-850-8841

Seattle floating homes in Portage Bay have been well sought after in recent years. Here is one that hasn’t changed hands for forty years! Its adorable, too! Ready for its legacy to be passed on to its next occupant, this sweet floating home is the princess of houseboats! From the moment you step down Shelby Street in Portage Bay, you may have the same feeling that most residents here have – one of your shoulders relaxing and the entire day melting away. Many times, I have heard of this account and experience it myself on a regular basis. This truly is peaceful Portage Bay, but that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening here! This home has an incredible channel view to the full boat parade! If that’s not enough jump into your kayak or paddle out on your SUP.

One bedroom with large walk in closet and super cool historical Jalousie windows, stacking washer and dryer and all fir floors throughout. This is a gem and has a large covered wrap around deck complete with haint paint in the eves. Enjoy your fun neighbors and the private coveted lush garden on the shores of this cooperatively owned moorage’s property. In addiiton, it comes with on shore storage at no additional charge. The monthly dues cover all your utilities except for electricity and cable.internet, and the home is equipped with a super efficiient newer pellet stove.

Enjoy living on the banks of Portage Bay in this incredible part of town. So close to Little Lago, that the lovely smalls of their wood fired pizza and hand made espresso drinks billow through the air when the gentle breezes go by. Located on the Portage Bay Loop, this is a great spot to jump on the 3.2 mile loop around the bay which is the eastern arm of Lake Union. Paddle to Ivar’s for some fish and chips or go through the Montlake Cut and check out the waterways of the Arboretum and Foster Island. There is no shortage of adventure and peace here! $765,000 call/text Molly or Courtney to see it 206-841-6800/206-850-8841 houseboats@coopercartwright.com You can also see it here: 1213 E Shelby St #11

Some of the details of this Portage Bay floating home:

  • 735 square feet
  • 1 bedroom
  • 1 bath (includes a tub!)
  • sunny eat in kitchen
  • owned moorage for home
  • room to tie up your kayaks
  • on shore storage
  • private community garden

Seattle Floating Homes – Luxury Details In This New Build

What a gorgeous day! We always say that this is the kind of weather that was made to show off Seattle houseboats! This luxury new construction floating home build is no exception to that. This is the last floating home available in the Stillwater Landing development. It is that one that was held back because the design was so incredible. It is also the last basement allowed in Seattle floating homes per current city rules. This luxury lake home is incredible!!! Three levels of living space with high ceilings, luxury finish work, and radiant warm floors. It has boat moorage and garage parking – complete with electrical to install a car charger if you want. It really has it all… and you own your own moorage. $2,950,000

This is a once in a lifetime buy as the city has a net zero policy on these and no more new Seattle floating homes will be allowed to add to the number that we have on the lake already. In addition, no additional basements will be permitted according to the code. It’s also rare to get a garage parking space and be in this incredible corner of Portage Bay. You can check out the listing details here: 2816 Boyer Ave E #B

We would be happy to show you this property. We have lender, inspector, appraiser, and insurance referrals for these special waterfront properties and we are happy to walk you through each step. We look forward to showing you this floating home or others and are your absolute advocates for Lake Union homes and waterfront living. Courtney Cooper or Molly Cartwright 206-850-8841/206-841-6800 courtney@coopercartwright.com / molly@coopercartwright.com We are here to help and your absolute Seattle Houseboats Experts.

seattle houseboats for sale

Seattle Houseboats: Brand New Finishes In A Classic Floating Home

seattle houseboats

Not much on the market as far as Seattle houseboats go in the floating home world right now. Looking for the charm of a historical home with the sleek finishes of new construction? Interested in living on the water in Seattle? This is Seattle houseboats living at its finest and a great combination of the two things you like best! This is an adorable newly redone from the inside out Portage Bay floating home.

From the marketing remarks for this Seattle floating home for sale in the MLS listing: “A classic floating home bungalow is transformed into a modern, energy efficient home. Newly renovated 2 bed/2 bath floating home in Portage Bay w/ all updated features and systems. Inviting kitchen for the chef includes Fisher Paykel appliances, glass tiles, quartz counters, and hand built wooden cabinets. Master bdrm w/ walk-in closet. Hardwood floors, bountiful natural light, extends to a beautiful sliding door wall maximizing your views to the west. Awesome lifestyle. Boat moorage included!” $1,098,000 Call/text Molly Cartwright 206-841-6800 or email houseboats@cooperjacobs.com

2019: A Review of Seattle Floating Homes Sales and Activity

2019 proved to be another happy ending for Seattle floating home sales in Seattle, Wa. 

We saw 22 Seattle floating homes successfully sell on Lake Union and Portage Bay.  We saw more activity than ever in Portage Bay this year!  Could this be the new hot neighborhood for Seattle floating homes?  NINE sold in Portage Bay, THREE in Westlake and the neighborhood which has more floating homes than anyone… Eastlake saw TEN floating homes sell.

What type of homes sold around Lake Union and Portage Bay and how long did it take?   

A cute Westlake floating home for $500,000 sold in about 88 days.  It’s one bed, one bath, and 500 square feet. It’s your typical 1920’s cabin style one story floating home.  $3,438,000 tipped the scales for the largest sale this year which goes to the beautiful Ward’s Cove community. City views, boat moorage, luxury high end finishes for a 2016 built floating home with gated parking are just a few of the perks.  Whether it’s a small charming floating home or a new or remodeled floating home the average purchase price when you include all the sold floating homes rounded out at $1,393,205.  Let’s not forget the average square footage was 1,280.  Calculating these two numbers gives us our price per square foot which is $1,088.  And it took all 21 of these homes an average of 67 days on the market.

Speaking of days on market, SeattleAfloat/Cooper Jacobs successfully listed or sold 63% (14 out of 22 homes) including four off market sales for clients.

What does 2020 look like for buying and selling Seattle floating homes?

We had some creative connections in 2019 which makes it so incredibly gratifying to know the people in this community so we can connect the dots.  We saw people moving up, scaling down, and literally moving their floating homes on the lake. Looking ahead, Seattle real estate has all indications to continue our growth.  More people moving here because of more jobs which means more home developing. We describe our business of selling floating homes sometimes like balancing on a paddle board. These properties do feel slight ups and downs as related to land homes but they continue to ride the wave skimming just the surface without much turbulence at all.  To add to the purchasing power, we have better than ever floating home lenders we continually work with and not surprising competitive for your business.  

When is a good time to sell?

Every year is different.  This is not just me saying something vague.  This year we saw no sales in the first quarter!  It picked up in May with three closings. June there were four.  And July saw THE largest closings in a month which was 5. September was right behind with four closings, October saw 2 and November there were THREE closings!  In a nutshell, 2019 saw a very slow start and then…well then it was no stopping. The number of buyers came out ten fold in the last quarter of 2019. So sellers – the objective is to have your home ready for the most pickiest buyers to attract them from January to December.  Because I guarantee there are always buyers shopping online for a floating home. They’re just waiting for the right one. 

 Case in point:  We listed a wonderful end of dock floating home in December (right in the middle of the holidays!) for $750,000.  It’s the brown one in the middle pictured here. It got immediate attention and now is pending after 5 days on the market.

As always, we appreciate your time in reading our material and if you ever have a question – ask us!  We love to hear from our audience. 

Quick Explanation for those who need it:

Floating homes by definition are homes registered by the city and county as floating on logs (old growth cedar logs) or concrete and are locked into a dock by way of moorage arms or chains.  They are connected to the city’s sewer, water, and electric. Floating home owners enjoy including their moorage slip as part of their real estate footprint and do pay taxes on this. By comparison, there are still a couple of docks which have a landlord instead of a co-op or condo ownership.  They enjoy rent control for their slips. Ask us more about this topic if you’re interested.

Happy 2020 Everyone!

Check our current floating homes listed RIGHT HERE.  There are currently 4  floating homes listed active right now.

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