Seattle Houseboats Market Update

Seattle Houseboats Market Update April 2015:

Actives: There are five Seattle houseboats for sale in the “floating homes” category currently. List prices of these active Seattle houseboats range from $510,000 to $1,750,000.  There are Eastlake floating homes, Portage Bay floating homes, and a gorgeous Westlake floating home on the 2420 Westlake dock that we put on last week.

Here is some more on that one since we obviously feel it is the best of the Seattle houseboats on the market right now:

2420 Westlake Ave N   (SOLD)Seattle houseboats

  • 2 bedrooms
  • 1.5 baths
  • amazing rooftop deck
  • ownership in income generating private marina
  • built in 1929, but 2008 remodel is more accurate of its presentation
  • 1065 square feet
  • $500/month dues
  • float size is 42 feet by 24 feet
  • annual taxes are only $1831
  • next dock over from the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat
  • $985,000

Pending Seattle houseboats: Currently there are four Seattle floating homes that are pending in the MLS.  In addition to these Seattle floating homes there is a house barge which is also pending inspection.  List price of these pending Seattle houseboats is $695,000 to $1,690,000.  One of them is on a leased dock, one is on a fee simple dock and two are on co-op docks.

In addition to these pending Seattle houseboats, there are two more which we have helped facilitate and  which are pending in Eastlake – priced at $575,000 and $920,000.

SOLD! Seattle floating homes sold in the last 30 days – Just one has closed according to the MLS.  2351 Fairview Ave E #K  was listed for $1,050,000 and sold for $1,000,000.  It has a garage and is on a condominium dock so the dues are lower and the taxes are higher.

Before I go on, let me clarify what a Seattle houseboat is since there is a lot of bad information out there:

In short, “Seattle Houseboats” is the general umbrella overall term which encompasses ALL of the following:

  1. Seattle floating homes – no motor and more permanently connected to sewer, electric, docks, etc.
  2. Vessel Seattle houseboats – navigable and move of their own propulsion but also act as livaboards.
  3. Seattle House Barges – not self propelled, city has grandfathered a number of them in, some hooked up to utilities.

A little about Seattle houseboats from Wikipedia:

Seattle is home to a relatively large collection of houseboats (capable of moving under their own power) or “floating homes” (houses built on floats) neighborhoods, particularly in Lake Union and Portage Bay. The earliest houseboats in Seattle were recorded in 1905, and peaked with over 2,000 houseboats in the 1930s. There are currently approximately 500 houseboats in Seattle. Most houseboats are designed and built for inland lakes and waterways only.

*Molly Cartwright and I are Seattle houseboats REALTORS not just real estate agents who sell Seattle houseboats.  As actual paying members of the National Association of Realtors, we are able to able to ethically sell homes.  Realtors abide by a strong code of ethics which non-Realtors are not required to.  Make sure that when you are buying Seattle houseboat that your broker is also an actual Realtor – not just a real estate agent. It makes a difference in how they are perceived by industry professionals and you want someone representing you who has a good reputation and who you know will act honestly and ethically in a transaction.

If you are purchasing a vessel type Seattle houseboat then make sure that you are using a licensed vessel broker not just a real estate agent.  Vessels are indeed boats so proper licensing should be in place to sell them.  Molly and I also have our vessel license through our SeattleAfloat.com Seattle houseboats division. You have a choice when it comes to who represents you.

More pictures of our gorgeous Westlake floating home listing:

Please call or text Molly if you would like more info or a private showing: 206-841-6800

Westlake, $985,000 - Image 14


 

Seattle Real Estate: Interest Rates, Affordability, And What’s Next

Looking At Seattle Homes For Sale, Interest rates, and Affordability – Should You Buy Now?  Or Wait?

The fact is that interest rates on 30-year, 20-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages are some of the lowest in history.  We don’t know how they will increase over the next two years.

In discussions with friends about their plans to purchase a home I often hear them say that they would like to purchase in a year or two.  This is great news for everyone.  However, I usually try to educate them on the current advantages of low mortgage interest rates. – Cooper Jacobs Real Estate

Taking advantage of a 4% or lower loan rate can save prospective homebuyers thousands, if not over $100,000 in the amount of interest paid on the life of a loan.[1] Currently, interest rates on a 30-year fixed loan are setting at 4.02%.  That is the lowest since June 2013.[2] With the economy on track for a solid 3.5% annual growth and inflation rising, investors are beginning to dump bonds for stocks.[3] This, in turn forces financial institutions to raise the interest rates on loan products to keep a profit.

Seattle homes

The economy is no doubt on an upward trajectory.  Baring another economic disaster, the economy will continually improve and force interest rates up.  Can we predict whether interest rates will be significantly higher in 2016?  The answer is no.  However, we can say with confidence that they will be higher and when it comes to your money every dollar matters.

Current homeowners are taking advantage of these low interest rates by refinancing.  They understand the significant savings to be had by leaving their 30-year fixed rate mortgage for a new 20-year or 15-year fixed loan instead.  In fact, 44% of people who refinanced in the third quarter “ditched their existing 30-year fixed rate loan in favor of a shorter-termed 15-year or 20-year loan.  It’s the second quickest exodus from the 30-year fixed rate mortgage in recorded history…”[4]

So, instead of putting off the home buying process for another year or more, people should begin to get their feet wet.

  • Build a relationship with a local Seattle Realtor
  • Ask your Realtor for their trusted resources such as a referral for a lender.
  • Find out what kind of loan options you can qualify for and what is available.

By taking advantage of these resources you can be prepared to pull the trigger when you find a home that you love.  It should also be noted that using a Realtor that is from your neighborhood is a service that will cost you, as a potential home buyer, nothing out of pocket.  So, let a professional help you do the searching and narrow down the choices for you.  In the end, it is all about making things smooth and easy while saving money.


[1] Lisa Ward, “The Steep Cost of Not Refinancing,” The Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2014.

[2] Average 30 Year Fixed Mortgage rates, http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/data/30-year-mortgage-rates.aspx

[3] The Detroit News, “U.S. 30-Year Mortgage Rate up to 4.02%,” http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/personal-finance/2014/11/10/mortgage-rates-rise/18779027/

[4] Dan Green, Today’s Low Mortgage Rates Push Borrowers Away From 30- Year Loans, http://themortgagereports.com/16858/freddie-mac-refinance-report-transition-15-year-30-year-mortgage-loan

Cooper Jacobs Real Estate  realestate@cooperjacobs.com

 

 

Seattle Houseboats: 2014 Floating Homes Show Was A Hit!

Seattle Houseboats Brokers

Thank you to all the amazing volunteers who showed up in full force to make the 2014 Seattle Floating Homes Tour a success!

floating homes tour poster

Cooper Jacobs Brokers were on site to volunteer as well!

Thank you to all the members of Cooper Jacobs Real Estate.  This tour is a way for our office to give back to a phenomenal community! The Seattle floating homes neighborhood is very near and dear to our hearts and all proceeds of this tour go to the Floating Homes Association.

floating homes tour map

There were twelve Seattle floating homes on the tour this year in both Eastlake and Westlake.  We had 6 electric boats going back and forth across Lake Union as well as buses for ticket holders to go back and forth.

The theme this year was Wonderful Water Colors and co-chair Sue Jostrom was responsible for the beautiful pieces of art in the ticket/brochure. Courtney and Molly coordinated roughly 100 volunteers over two different shifts.  Jann , Melissa, and LeAnne were at Will Call passing out tickets to the purchasers of the sold out tour.  There were 1200 tickets sold this year and it was a success all the way around.

seattle realtors

Thanks to Brian Olsen and Jim Dougherty for being two of the twelve Captains crossing Lake Union on what was a very busy day on the lake! Thanks to Rick and Joyce Miner for providing the signage for us and thank you to Tricia Rendina and Joyce Black for being co-chairs and organizing sponsors, etc. This was a huge collaborative effort which goes back many months.

Additional reading if you are interested in this lifestyle or other Seattle neighborhoods:

Blog with lots of info about Seattle Houseboats

Seattle Floating Homes for sale

Seattle waterfront homes

Seattle neighborhoods

All The Single Ladies: Female Homebuyers The New Norm

As a broker for the past eight years, and as a woman with quite a few female friends who are single into their 30s and 40s, I have noticed a growing phenomenon. The Single Female Buyer.

With women more employed than ever, and with the average couple marrying later and bringing their own assets and properties to the relationship, women are not waiting until marriage to buy their first home.

According to the State of the Nations Housing: 2009 report, compiled by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, “social and economic trends have given women a more powerful presence in housing markets. Between 1980 and 2000, the number of households headed by unmarried women increased by almost 10 million.” The same study, however, also states that, “because women still earn less on average than men do, they are more likely to face housing problems than either married-couple households or households headed by unmarried men.”

Statistics on Women and Homeownership

  • Interestingly, single female buyers accounted for nearly twice as large a share as single male buyers for both first-time buyers (23 and 15 percent) and repeat buyers (17 and 9 percent).
  • Twenty percent of recent home buyers were single females, and 10 percent were single males.
  • More women (15.5 million) than men (11.8 million) lived alone. Among these, women were more likely than men to own their homes (56% vs. 47%).
  • About one-quarter of the nation’s nearly eight million single mothers spend more than half of their incomes on housing, compared with one-tenth of households headed by single fathers.
  • Over the time period of 1994-2002, the number of unmarried females owning homes climbed from 13.9 million to 17.5 million.

Below is a slew of articles chronicling this rapidly growing phenomenon and suggesting to you, the Single Female Buyer, what you ought to do in terms of real estate investment. My advice is from the heart: buy a home. If you can find a way to do it, especially now that we have gotten through the slump and are in a healthier economic climate, do it.  Nobody can evict you, raise your monthly housing cost, tell you not to paint the kitchen yellow, restrict your pets, etc. Because land ownership has not historically been a woman’s place, it was hard for me to find a great quote by a woman pertaining to this. But as a wise man once said, “Buy dirt, they aren’t making any more of it”. Ownership of one’s home is powerful, both financially and personally. There is nothing I love more than seeing someone become more empowered. Unless that person is trying to take my parking spot.

Sources: 2011 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, (Chicago, IL: National Association of REALTORS®, 2010) and The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2012, (Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, 2012).

Single, female and shopping for a home, (MSN Real Estate, Jan. 29, 2013).

Guess Who’s Driving the Demand for Rental Apartments?, (CNBC, Jan. 29, 2013).

Here’s Some Advice For All The Single Ladies Flooding The Housing Market, (Business Insider, May 16, 2012)

Singles dive into the real estate market, (MSNBC, July 12, 2011).

What Women Home Buyers Want, (Builder, Jan. 14, 2011).

Women Home Buyers, a Major Economic Force in the Industry, Have a Language All Their Own, (NAHB, Aug. 23, 2010).

Single Women Home Buyers: Key to the Housing Recovery?, (AOL Real Estate, May 14, 2010).

Wanted: Single Women Home Buyers, (SmartMoney, Apr. 9, 2010).

Singles, especially women, a growing share of homebuyers, (Chicago Tribune, Feb. 28, 2010).

Women make up their mind faster when buying a home, (Inside Tucson Business, Sept. 11, 2009).

Gender differences abound in the home-buying process, (RISMedia, Sept. 1, 2009).

Single women skilled in house buying, (Washington Times, July 11, 2008).

Women homebuyers growing in number, (Ventura County Star, Jan. 27, 2008).

They’re buying solo, (Newsday.com, Mar. 15, 2007).

Singles taking stride in the home buying market, (The Hammond Times,Feb. 17, 2007).

As the Nation Changes, So Do Home Buyers, (RISMedia.com, Feb. 13, 2007).

Seattle Waterfront Real Estate: Where To Find ALL Seattle Waterfront Homes For Sale

Seattle waterfront homes come in many different forms.  seattle waterfront homes

We have a lot of water in Seattle and there are some premium Seattle waterfront neighborhoods in many parts of the city and Seattle suburbs. You can find Seattle waterfront homes for sale on our Seattle real estate website.  In fact we have many talented and well qualified Seattle waterfront real estate brokers at Cooper Jacobs Real Estate!  Whether you are a buyer or seller we can help guide you through the intricacies that are involved in Seattle waterfront real estate. Email:  Waterfront@CooperJacobs.com

seattle waterfront homes

 

Some Seattle Waterfront Neighborhoods:


Madison Park

Laurelhurst

Magnolia

Lincoln Park

North Beach

Alki

Seward Park

Eastlake

Westlake

Lake Union

Portage Bay

Broadmoor

Denny Blaine

Cedar Park

Blue Ridge

Ballard

Sunset Hill

Washington Park

Windermere

Sand Point


Some Seattle Suburb Waterfront Neighborhoods:

Medina

Hunt Point

Bellevue

Kirkland

Juanita

Lake Forest Park

Kenmore

Mercer Island

Bainbridge Island

Renton

Richmond Beach

Edmonds

Mukilteo

Everett

Yarrow Point

Sammamish

Newport Shores

Normandy Park

Gig Harbor

Fox Island

Purdy
Regardless of where you are looking for Seattle area waterfront homes, we can probably find something that might suit you and we have many brokers that specialize in the best Seattle waterfront neighborhoods and suburbs to get you the care and diligence you need.

How To Buy When You Already Own

How To Buy When You Already Own
Do you own your home or condo but want to sell it and buy something with more space, a different location, or perhaps a view?

One option is to take out a HELOC. A Home Equity Line of Credit (ask me for a lender with great programs of these right now) lets you take out a certain percentage of your home’s equity to use as a downpayment on your new home. To find out how much equity you have, contact a Realtor, like myself, to research the value of your home (it changes ALL the time). If you have a certain percentage of equity, you can qualify for a new loan. And if you’re preapproved for your new home loan, I can get the home you want to sell prepped for the market pronto!

Another option is a bridge loan. A bridge loan has some ramifications though. They generally tend to have higher interest rates and need to be paid back in a specified amount of time. It’s like a short term loan on your current property to buy a different property. It’s all about timing with a bridge loan. You can find out more about bridge loans HERE.

You can always make an offer contingent on your home selling. This is perhaps the option offering the least amount of risk. Of course with our current market today, properties are moving fast and a contingent offer isn’t as clean as an offer with a definitive close date, for example. But if are you a homeowner considering the contingent offer option, consider the right list price and a home in tip-top shape, it won’t take long to sell.

molly a. cartwright | seattle realtor
cooper jacobs real estate, llc
206.841.6800
“Serving home buyers and sellers in Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods”

Seattle Floating Homes Market Update

By Courtney Cooper 206-850-8841
1/17/2011

The current Seattle houseboats market is stirring up as we trudge through Winter and many are starting to think about getting their floating homes and houseboats ready for the Spring 2011 market.

So, Current Seattle Houseboats Market – What is Happening Out There with floating homes on Lake Union and in Portage Bay?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is hard to weed through the actual Seattle floating homes in the NWMLS right now.  The code for them is 24-Houseboats, but that code is also used for houseboats that are vessels and more recently has been used for Lake Union moorage sites at Ward’s Cove.  In addition, there is a land home also mixed in with the houseboats because it is at the head of the dock… This can all be confusing for the consumer, so I have gone through and weeded through all the houseboat listings and pulled the Seattle floating homes from them.

There are only 6  Seattle floating homes for sale right now – 3 in Westlake, 3 in Eastlake, and no Portage Bay floating homes.  If your houseboat is on the market, then that is good news for you because competition is low.   Interested buyers in floating homes have increased in the last two weeks noticeably for us. This is getting the current Seattle houseboats for sale a lot more attention than in the previous holiday months.

Westlake houseboats for sale – There are three Seattle houseboats for sale in Westlake Cove right now.  They range in price from $299,000 to $850,000.  Westlake Cove is near the Fremont Bridge and on the Lake Union Loop with very easy parking and quick access Downtown – a perfect spot for Amazon employees or anyone coming to work at The Gates Foundation.

Eastlake Houseboats for sale – Also on the Lake Union Loop, there are also three Seattle houseboats for sale in Eastlake.  These range in price from $495,000 for a Seattle floating home on a leased dock to $3,450,000 for a contemporary wonder on the Fairview Landings dock.

Summary Seattle Houseboats data on actives– Seattle floating homes for sale range from $299,000 to $3,450,000 with an average of $1,020,494 and median list price of $562,475.

Pending Sales – There is one floating home on one of the Sleepless In Seattle docks that is pending at $975,000.

Last 30 days of escrow closings – Winter has been slow.  Over at Lee’s Mooring – 933 N Northlake Way Houseboat #14 closed on 1/12/2011.  It was listed for $799,950 and on the market for 249 days.  It sold for 90.88% of its list price with a final sales price of $727,000.

What’s Next?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you are a Seattle houseboat buyer, come out and see the inventory.  If you have seen them before, come see them again.  Sellers are willing to negotiate and your best opportunity is now before the market heats up.

If you are a Seattle houseboat seller, the inventory is low and that means competition is low. There are less buyers, but you can be sure to get in front of them.  As Spring approaches, think about what improvements or sprucing up you can do to get your houseboat ready for the market.