Seattle Houseboats Inventory Afloat! What’s Happening Here?

Lake Union Inventory: There is a lot to choose from on the lake right now!

In the world of Seattle houseboats, there are floating homes, vessels, and barges.  When you look at our Seattle houseboats for sale page on Cooper Jacobs it may seem daunting as a seller, as there are more than TWENTY over the water homes for sale right now, but only eight of these are classified as Seattle floating homes. At least a dozen are other types of Seattle houseboats are also for sale – some of which are extremely fancy and worth considering if you are a floating home buyer.

In short, inventory is not a problem on the lake right now.

In fact, inventory across the Puget Sound has drastically gone up and as a result we are seeing longer market times in the higher end floating home market.  Basically, if you are priced around a million or higher, then it is taking longer to sell your floating home. As things inevitably slow down, floating homes tend to be steadier than land homes in price, but also take longer to sell.

So what is for sale right now? Out of the eight for sale, only seven Seattle floating homes are being offered with owned moorage slips included (they own the water in which they are residing). Purchasing a floating home with condo or coop owned moorage is the most secure form of ownership for your floating home as these are not generally mobile and there aren’t usually alternative moorage locations for them.  Prices for these special Lake Union homes range from $1,749,950 for a coop owned slip and floating home in Eastlake to $3,499,000.  Five of the current offerings are in Eastlake and two of them are in Portage Bay.

Here are our favorites of the current Seattle Floating Homes For Sale:

seattle floating homes2017 Fairview Ave E #N     $1,795,000

Step aboard your newly remodeled floating home in Eastlake. Gorgeous kitchen includes granite counter tops, new cabinets, under counter refrigerator, and warm your toes on the heated Travertine floors. Or opt to use your outdoor grill while soaking up the sun and views. In the lower level, a comfortable master bedroom with ample closets, a cozy fireplace, and access to the lake from your deck. Second bedroom plus bonus room. Walk to Serafina, SLU, Essential Bakery, Pete’s Market.

2822 Boyer Ave E #2             $2,350,000seattle houseboats

Luxury high end 3 BR smart home floating paradise w/ rooftop deck. Automated lighting, Lutron shades, sec cams, 10-zone audio, more w/ touch pad controls throughout house & remote access. Decks on 3 levels. Exotic zebra hardwood, Pedini Italian cabinets, underlit glass molded cast glass staircase + 6 antique operable brass portholes from an English luxury liner. Upscale kitchen w/ Bosch and Gagganau + outside Lynx BBQ cooking area. Solar powered boat lift. Parking, Moorage, Low Dues,Great location!

3146 Portage Bay Pl E #G      $1,999,000

seattle floating homesBeautifully designed by Prentiss Architecture, this new floating home expands over 1,980 square feet of luxury. Handsome cedar on the exterior and warmth from radiant heat inside. Black honed soapstone kitchen counters compliment custom cherry cabinets with energy efficient stainless steel appliances. Gorgeous Maple hardwood floors unite the open concept floor plan. Loewe windows + nano doors to bring the outdoors in. Category 5 wiring. Seattle waterfront at it’s finest.

Let us know if you want to see any of the current inventory or if you are curious what your floating home might be worth.  We are happy to help you buy or sell your home.  You can reach us here: 206-841-6800 or houseboats@cooperjacobs,com

A Little “Dirt” On Seattle Houseboats History You May Not Know

Seattle houseboats

Colorful Seattle Houseboats History on The Log Foundation docks of Eastlake in 2014. Image courtesy of Cooper Jacobs Real Estate.

Seattle Houseboats History Has A “Colorful” Background & Entrepreneurial Spirit Transcends Time…

To look at all the colorful and cheery Lake Union floating homes today is to never know how truly Seattle houseboats history is. Seattle floating homes are a living and evolving part of Seattle’s history.  From their humble beginnings over a hundred years ago as floating shanties compiled of pillaged lumber, it is amazing to see that some sell for over $3 Million dollars in today’s real estate market.

Seattle houseboats were originally built in two different ways.  Either the worker would utilize his commuting work boat and build living quarters above it, or they would gather “loose” logs and raft them together to build a completely free floating structure.  It was an inexpensive way of living and was tax free on top of it.

Madison Park Seattle houseboats

Map of Seattle houseboats along shores of Madison Park. Image Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives Item #944

At the peak, the Seattle floating homes community was as large as two thousand houseboats lining the shores of the city in various locations which even included Madison Park in Lake Washington.  The residents of the surrounding Seattle neighborhoods reportedly snubbed them and looked down at this way of life.  They apparently felt that it was beneath their standards and so began the struggle of Seattle houseboats to Stay Afloat In Seattle™.  Today there are around 500 Seattle floating homes and probably another two or three hundred liveaboards that are officially newly categorized as Seattle Floating On-Water Residences (final count once all have registered themselves in the latest legislation). The latest Seattle floating home dock was a new construction floating home development called Ward’s Cove.  Very specific requirements need to be in place in order to develop new construction Seattle floating homes, so it is next to impossible to do so.

If The City Historically Wanted Them Gone, Why Did They Allow Docks To Begin With?

Denny Hill View

Here is a view towards Downtown from the South slope of Denny Hill in 1886 (photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives Item # 2869)

The short answer is The University of Washington. Wait.  What? The long answer is that Seattle has a very long history of making some incredibly hairbrained decisions as far as infrastructure goes. A perfect example (and my apologies for going off subject here for a minute, but….) The Denny Regrade: The hill is too big?  Scrape it into the Puget Sound. In 1900, the city decided to basically eliminate a whole hill which covered 62 city blocks.  Denny Hill was a significantly beautiful hill in Seattle.  It had a gorgeous crowned jewel of a hotel atop it that was so grand that even President Theodore Roosevelt stayed there! It had an old cemetery and a beautiful park on it with expansivel views in all directions.  In all, they removed a reported six million cubic yards of earth.

Connecting the dots:  What does this all have to do with Seattle houseboats and The University of Washington? Let’s go backwards.  The modern day campus of The University of Washington was largely laid out and shaped by The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909.   In 1907 the city of Seattle platted and sold the submerged “parcels” in Lake Union to the adjacent waterfront property land owners.  This enabled docks to be built and Seattle houseboats to be moored to them.  According to The Lake Union Mail on an article about Submerged Parcels Park on the Cheshiahud Loop, “The “Lake Union Shore Lands” were created in 1907 as a funding mechanism for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (S.B. #101). Water extending from shore approximately one block (roughly 400 feet) was platted as buildable land, then sold. These parcels didn’t sink, they started sunk. And they were considered valuable.” Now you know how a World’s Fair, Denny Hill, The University of Washington, and Seattle Houseboats are related.

Seattle houseboats booze hatch

While replacing the carpet for one of our Seattle historic houseboat listings in 2010, we found an old booze hatch left over from Prohibition days. Image Courtesy of Courtney Cooper.

More Shady Past on The Lake: Life Afloat In Seattle℠: You Want To Stay Dry, Except When It Comes To Your Drink…..

Creativity has always been a strong characteristic of the Seattle floating homes community.  This was never so true as during the prohibition era. According to the 1996 article by Sharon Boswell in The Seattle Times, “But for those who couldn’t afford the pleasures of Doc’s or one of the hundreds of other boozy night spots and music clubs along Jackson Street, in Belltown or even on Lake Union houseboats, there was always a bottle of locally produced bootleg available to consume in the privacy of home.”  If floating homes seem like an unlikely place to get your alcohol fix then consider that In his highly acclaimed book, “Seattle’s Unsinkable Houseboats”, Howard Droker tells the story of a very enterprising entrepreneur who along with the cedar bark he sold off his boat, also sold smuggled Canadian liquor.

It’s absolutely true.  If you take a peek under carpets of older floating homes you will see the leftover evidence of the Prohibition era and how crafty houseboaters were able to not stay dry.  Many of them have hidden trap doors under the floor that were used for storing alcohol.  At one point in time there were regular “rum run” routes such as the one Droker writes about which would make their rounds delivering to Lake Union floating homes. These booze hatches were ingenious and stored between the floating logs with a wire cage so that the waters of the lake itself could keep the liquor cold and well hidden.  According to HistoryLink.org, The Seattle Times noted at one point that in regard to those wild times, “Some of the stories behind the houseboat population are as colorful as anything that ever came out of Seattle’s history, but respect for another’s privacy and past is an unspoken code on the lake.”

Seattle houseboats for sale in Eastlake

This historic Seattle houseboat was once used as a floating dance hall. It is for sale today for $697,000. Listed by Cooper Jacobs Real Estate. Molly Cartwright 206-841-6800

Seattle Houseboats Are Still Afloat & Strong Today

Go experience their magic – Take a kayak tour through Lake Union and Portage Bay where you will find what is left of the Seattle floating homes community.  Take a walk around Lake Union on the Cheshiahud Loop. Lake Union is the very heart of the city. Try and imagine the colorful past as you look at the beauty and creativeness which is so abundant today.  This is a living and breathing Seattle neighborhood, but also a significant part of Northwest history.  It is as vibrant as the wonderful people who live in it.  I am so thankful to have known so many of them and appreciate how they have enriched my life so far.  Please also take a minute and donate to the Seattle Floating Homes Association if you can.

Want more information on Seattle houseboats?

seattle houseboats expertsWe are happy to help!  Please call Courtney or Molly.  We are Seattle Houseboats Experts ℠, and have been Seattle Realtors specializing in floating homes and waterfront for many years. We look forward to helping you find your piece of Lake Union.

Molly Cartwright 206-841-6800   Courtney Cooper 206-850-8841
We can immediately answer your questions or email us at houseboats@CooperJacobs.com
Seattle Afloat ® We want to help you live your life Afloat In Seattle Cooper Jacobs Real Estate

Seattle Floating Homes Market Houseboats Plus A Housebarge

lake union houseboatsSeattle Houseboats Market Update:

In the last sixty days, there have been many significant sale in the Seattle houseboat community.  There have been nine closed sales in the NWMLS for Seattle floating homes and also for Seattle houseboats which are classified as a barge (house barge).

Here are some of the details of the Seattle houseboats which have closed in escrow:

2727 Fairview Ave E #3  This is a grandfathered in Seattle housebarge which was gorgeous. It has 2 bedrooms and was listed on 4/5/2015 for $399,000 and sold for $404,000 after 6 days on the market.  It is located on the Hamlin Pier in Eastlake.  No sales tax on Seattle housebarges for sale if you can find them.

3125 Fairview Ave E #B This 2 bedroom 875 square foot Seattle floating home was listed on 4/30/2015 for $575,000 and sold for full price three days later.  I closed in escrow 5/29/2015.

2727 Fairview Ave E #12  This Seattle floating home is on Hamlin Pier which is a leased dock in Eastlake. It was listed for $695,000 on 3/6/2015  and on the market for 22 days before closing on 4/30/2015 with a final sales price of $675,000.

2031 Fairview Ave E #P  The Lake Union Dock in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood.  The next three sold on this dock.  The floating home in slip #P  is 1050 square feet and 2 bedrooms.  It was listed for $725,000 on 4/28/2015 and after 3 days on the market sold for $715,000 and closed on 6/5/2015.  It is the first houseboat on the dock.

2031 Fairview Ave E #B  Another Lake Union Dock gem, Molly and I sold this gorgeous Seattle houseboat to our lucky clients who came out ahead in a fierce multiple offer situation. This two bedroom 1200 square foot floating home was listed on 4/1/2015 for $895,000 and sold after six days on the market and closed in escrow on 5/19/2015 for $900,000.

2031 Fairview Ave E #G Molly and I had the pleasure of listing this one with LeAnne. We listed it on 4/27/2015 for $975,000 and after 5 days on the market it went under contract for full price.  During the inspection, we adjusted the price somewhat for a final sales price of $971,000.  It closed on 6/10/2015. This Seattle floating home is a two bedroom 1184 square foot houseboat in Eastlake. It is second from the end of the dock and offers some pretty great views and nice finish work.

3236 Portage Bay Pl  Moving over to Portage Bay, this two bedroom Seattle floating home was listed on 9/15/2014 for $1,100,000 and after 152 days on the market, it closed in escrow at $1,067,000 on 5/15/2015.  This houseboat offered a unique situation which make it difficult to price – a couple parking spaces and an on land rental income opportunity. People looking for Seattle houseboats for rent would like the land rental and this one also has no HOA so no dues.

10 E Roanoke Reef St #12  Awwe… Roanoke Reef floating homes!  Roanoke Reef is one of the three standards in Seattle luxury floating homes.  This three bedroom floating home is on the back row and offers 1562 square feet of living space to stretch out for your life afloat in Seattle.  It was listed for 4/5/2015 for $1,690,000 and after 276 days on the market sold for cash.  It closed on 5/8/2015 for a final sales price of $1,640,000.

3212 Portage Bay Place #B  Brand new!  Seattle new construction floating homes in Seattle are few and far between.  This one is back over in Portage Bay again and is one of the latest Seattle luxury floating homes to hit the houseboat market.  It was listed for $1,750,000 on 3/28/2015 and after 35 days on the market it sold for full asking price and cash and closed on 5/27/2015.  The square footage  is 1850 square feet of stunning interiors and three bedrooms which is difficult to find outside of Roanoke Reef, Mallard Cove, or Wards Cove.

So the average days on market for these Seattle houseboats for sale is 56 days.  The average dollar per square foot is $751.95 with a range of $657.14 to $1,049.94 for the Seattle floating homes and $404 for the Seattle housebarge Big Brother that closed.  The median sales price for all of these Seattle houseboats is $900,000.

Seattle floating homesOne Final note on The Seattle Houseboats Market:

The sales price to list price ratio is 99.02% making the Seattle floating homes market a healthy opportunity for Seattle buyers who want to be in city but can’t seem to compete in the current market.  In Seattle land homes for certain neighborhoods, homes are selling for $100,000 to $200,000 and more over list in the same price range.  Why not take your buying power and apply it towards Seattle’s most affordable waterfront and closest in city neighborhood? We still have multiple offers in the Seattle floating homes market, but the competition is at a more reasonable pace. I think if more buyers were aware of the attainability of this amazing lifestyle, then more people might jump in and enjoy this unique lifestyle of life afloat in Seattle. seattle houseboats

Please call us if you would like to learn more about living life on Lake Union. Courtney Cooper or Molly Cartwright 206-841-6800  Seattle Houseboats Realtors.  We specialize in Seattle floating homes, Seattle waterfront, Seattle luxury homes, and Seattle neighborhoods. Cooper Jacobs Real Estate, SeattleAfloat.com for Life Afloat In Seattle’s Lake Union Neighborhood.

January 2015 Seattle Houseboats Market Update

Seattle Houseboats Market Update:  What’s Out There?

Seattle houseboats

wide open views

In the MLS, there are three Seattle houseboats for sale currently in the Seattle floating homes category. They all three have a 1 in front of them.  As in ONE MILLION.  Specifically, there is one available in Portage Bay for $1.1M and two Seattle houseboats available in Eastlake (including one of the Roanoke Reef floating homes) ranging in price from $1,599,900 to $1,795,000. There is also a Seattle houseboat for rent in Eastlake at the end of the dock. In escrow, there is one Seattle floating home on Fairview in Eastlake that is pending – priced just over a million dollars.

Seattle Houseboats Sold

Seattle houseboatsIn the last 60 days in the MLS for Seattle houseboats sales, there have been two recorded. Both of these Seattle floating homes were priced under a million dollars…

3012 Fuhrman Ave E #D Listed on 11/22/2014 by Seattle Houseboats Realtor Molly Cartwright and me of Cooper Jacobs Real Estate for $229,000 and under contract officially on 11/25/2014.  It closed with a final sales price of $235,000 on 12/18/2014. This little Portage Bay floating home was an absolute writer’s paradise – a perfect Lake Union get away!

2207 Fairview Ave E #1 Listed by another company on 6/25/2014 and went pending in October on 10/07/2014 and then closed another two months later on 12/5/2014. So six month on the market – listed at $800,000 and sold for 91.25% of that asking at a final sales price of $730,000.  It’s a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath Eastlake floating home with 986 square feet and built in 1920.

Overall on The Seattle Houseboats Market…….seattle houseboats

The story with Seattle houseboats is still inventory.  Anything under $500,000 is moving faster than other price ranges.  That being said with the proper exposure, the right buyers will find your floating home.  If you are a buyer, then there are options in the MLS as long as you are willing to shell out the money that this unique Seattle waterfront homes lifestyle affords.  Molly is a good contact because she knows of AT LEAST THREE Seattle houseboats that are available or will be soon if you are looking for something specific. Utilizing a Seattle houseboats broker is key if you are going to be successful in being alerted immediately if something may be or is available.  You can reach her at 206-841-6800 or molly@cooperjacobs.com.  Please feel free to drop me a line as well. We love our jobs and it shows.  We are excited to work with you!

Molly Cartwright, Seattle Realtor 206-841-6800 or molly@cooperjacobs.com

Seattle Houseboats: Annie “O” Is In The House

Seattle Houseboats for sale: this ONESeattle Houseboats: Enduring Over 100 Years And Still Floating.  This particular one hasn’t been around quite that long, but long enough for it to be a site!

 Yes.  It floats.

Seattle houseboats have been afloat for over one hundred years now.  It all started when a few resourceful and down on their luck people decided to basically start tying loose logs up and forming rafts. A little time before 1909 Seattle came up with an ingenious way to raise money for the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. This world’s fair eventually shaped the campus of The University Of Washington! And it was financed largely by the beginnings of Seattle houseboats:

Over one hundred years ago the city of Seattle platted and sold the submerged “parcels” in Lake Union to the adjacent waterfront property land owners.  This enabled docks to be built and Seattle houseboats to be moored to them.  It was quite a popular and thrifty idea!  The city now regulates them heavily and as a result of this regulation, Seattle houseboats have dwindled down considerably  from well over two thousand Seattle houseboats at one time to just around five hundred or so of the floating home variety. They are scattered throughout Lake Union and in Portage Bay.

Speaking of dwindling.seattle houseboats

The Seattle houseboats market has had a dwindling inventory and we are down to just a couple options right now in the floating homes world. This particular home is my favorite.  “Annie O” is her nick name.  She is houseboat “O” because the slips on the dock are lettered according to the alphabet, but I like her nick name personally.  She is a jewel and is priced perfectly at $599,000.  Two bedrooms are not always easy to come by in the land of Seattle houseboats, but this is a beautiful two bedroom and it has been lovingly restored by the famous Sid McFarland and also upgraded and improved by its current owner who has a real artist’s eye.  If this doesn’t make you want to go buy a boat or a kayak to tie up to it, then that is okay because there is lots to do in this community.  Annie O happens to be on one of the very best docks in one of the very best co-ops on Lake Union.  You will own the slip you and your home are in so there is security of knowing that this log pack is not going anywhere.  Let us know if you would like more information on this perfect little Lake Union gem!  Molly: 206.841.6800 or Courtney 206.850.8841  Please call or text for more info.