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?
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.
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 [email protected] 206-841-6800 or 206-850-8841
Regarding any statistical info from the NWMLS: Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.