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Seattle Waterfront Real Estate Blog

Seattle Waterfront Homes, Condos, Houseboats - SeattleHome.com

By Sam DeBord | Broker in Seattle, WA
  • Save Seattle Houseboats - DPD's Crusade: Swapping Shapes For No Gain

    Posted Under: General Area in Seattle, Market Conditions in Seattle, In My Neighborhood in Seattle  |  January 5, 2013 8:11 AM  |  1,677 views  |  1 comment

    Seattle City Council and Mayor Mike McGinn: Protect Seattle's Houseboats-Sign the petition to protect Seattle houseboats from wasteful regulation now -

    Seattle's Department of Planning and Development has been in the process of changing regulations to limit the number of houseboats in Seattle for some time now.  Repeated reviews by the Lake Union community have created great criticism for the proposed regulations, but it seems that each new revision by the DPD takes one step forward and one step back.

    Seattle's DPD believes that houseboats:

    • Displace recreational vessels while marinas are at capacity
    • Represent an environmental hazard with their liveaboard residents

    As a real estate broker who has worked in Lake Union communities for years, the suggestion that houseboats are even a significant portion of the vessels on Lake Union is the first miscalculation by the DPD.  There are many large "floating home" communities on Lake Union, but these are permanently-affixed homes with regular city electric, water, and sewer service.  Floating homes, sailboats, and cruising vessels (with V-shaped hulls) dwarf the number of actual move-able "houseboats" on the lake.

    More importantly, there is no shortage of marina availability.  The Lake Union Liveaboard Association recently did a study on the number of slip vacancies in Seattle:

    • In the summer (the busiest season of the year), 24% of slips were vacant
    • There are 9,790 slips in the Seattle shoreline management area
    • 113 slips are occupied by houseboats (1.15%)

    The DPD has decided that the shape of a vessel will determine whether or not it will fall under the new regulations.  Clearly, this does not have the intended effect that was stated in the group's goals.  There are far more sailboats and cabin cruisers with liveaboard residents on the lake than houseboats.  If the goal is to evict a houseboat with a regtangular-shaped hull (the definition the DPD has for a houseboat currently), they can simply be replaced by liveaboard V-shaped vessels, and likely will be.  There will be no effect on marina availability.

    DPD is effectively spending hundreds of thousand of dollars on a campaign to remove a tiny number of houseboats, which will have no net gain for Lake Union, save for a gain in liveaboard sailboats.  To be frank, there are a small number of DPD members have become so focused on houseboats that these new regulations have become their personal crusade.  The politics have locked those involved into such set positions that they can no longer see the big picture.

    The Seattle city council is now tasked with reviewing DPD's recommendations and taking a more pragmatic view.  If we look at the DPD's stated goals, the new regulations against houseboats will clearly not achieve them.  They will, however, create enormous legal and financial hurdles for a small portion of Lake Union's residents.

    Houseboat owners can't afford to fight this legal battle on their own, and the city shouldn't burden them with it. The new regulations don't help the city, local marinas, or the local environment.  At the very least, the city should grandfather in those houseboats which already reside on Lake Union and have been a part of the community since the city was first settled.

    Let Mayor McGinn and the Seattle city council know that you support the historic houseboat community on Lake Union.

    Sign the petition, and share it on Facebook.

    © Seattle Homes, LLC: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, Realtor
    Coldwell Banker Seattle: Coldwell Banker Danforth & Associates
    Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google + | Sam (at) SeattleHome.com

  • Lake Washington 130 Homes - Book by David Dykstra

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Mercer Island, Celebrity Homes in Mercer Island, In My Neighborhood in Mercer Island  |  December 18, 2010 9:47 AM  |  1,397 views  |  No comments

    When I’m not spending my time working with clients, I still love to take my family down to the waterfront whenever possible. Viewing Lake Washington waterfront homes, whether by boat or visiting open houses has always been one of my favorite pastimes (I know, I should probably have a little more division between business and leisure).

    One of the best publications I’ve read in years is David Dykstra’s Lake Washington 130 Homes. It’s a virtual guide to the stars in the Greater Seattle region, with waterfront photos, history, personal stories and background on his “Top 130″ homes on Lake Washington. While you can see satellite photos and “for sale” listings online, you rarely get this kind of an up-close look at these kinds of properties.

    Lake Washington 130 Homes Book

    From the historic homes of Seattle’s wealthiest pioneers to modern mansions of the software, coffee, aerospace and biotech executives of the new era, David chronicles the ever-diversifying architectural styles of Lake Washington’s most picturesque residences.

    The tour covers the most-expensive and most-unique homes on the waterfront, from the Seattle neighborhoods of Madison Park and Denny-Blaine to Mercer Island, Bellevue’s Meydenbauer, Medina and “The Points” (Evergreen Point, Hunts Point, and Yarrow Point. Having visited many of these homes in person, it’s a very different perspective to read the historical research that David has done on some properties that might otherwise be forgotten.

    I’ve purchased a copy of this book for any of my clients who’ve bought or are in the market for Lake Washington waterfront real estate. It’s not only entertaining, but it’s a great primer for someone who wants to understand Lake Washington’s past and present.

    Current Listings:
    Seattle Homes For Sale
    Seattle Waterfront Homes

    Seattle Condos For Sale

    Sam DeBord
    Realtor® | Managing Broker
    SeattleHome.com | Coldwell Banker Danforth
    ph: 206-658-3225 | email: sam(at)SeattleHome.com
    Member NWMLS, N.A.R., WA Realtors, Seattle-King County Realtors

    Source: Individually compiled NWMLS data. The NWMLS did not compile or publish this information.

    Connect with me:

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  • Seattle Floating Homes: New Regulations Underway

    Posted Under: In My Neighborhood in Eastlake  |  October 20, 2009 8:12 PM  |  814 views  |  No comments

    This is an interesting article by Diana Forman with the Floating Homes Association.  The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) consists of regulations for the use of waterways in the Seattle area.  There is a committee that consists of land owners, businesses, developers, and recreation groups that all have a stake in the management of the floating homes, waterfront real estate, environment, and atmosphere on Lake Union and the other bodies of water in the Seattle area.

    From noxious weeds to new Seattle floating homes and construction requirements, these folks have their hands full.  The SMP is trying to combine conforming and non-conforming regulations for Seattle houseboats and homes on land--no easy job.

    Sam DeBord and Brian Wiegand
    Seattle Real Estate Brokers
    Seattle Waterfront Homes
    (206) 552-8820

    SeattleHome.com

  • Northlake Community Wharf on Lake Union's Shore in Wallingford

    Posted Under: In My Neighborhood in Wallingford  |  October 20, 2009 6:25 PM  |  741 views  |  2 comments

    Residents of Seattle's Lake Union neighborhoods, especially those living near the waterfront, should take note of the proposed community center planned for the north shore of the lake near Gasworks Park in Wallingford.  In my opinion, this is a much-needed improvement for such a beautiful area with so little community development.  The Lake Union waterfront on the north end has plenty of unused potential.  From Jake Beattie of the CWB:

    There is an effort underway to create a maritime community center on the north shore of Lake Union adjacent to Gasworks Park. The Northlake Community Wharf will serve several functions.

    1.  Interpretive shipyard where the community can get involved and learn about historic ships undergoing restoration.

    2.  A place to extend the activity of the park on to the water of Lake Union via a hand-launch site or programs through The Center for Wooden Boats.

    3.  Serve needs for community meeting space at the water's edge.

    Northlake Community Wharf is a public/private partnership that will use non-profit led community engagement to activate public land to create a park-like experience without tax dollars for operations.

    For more information on the project and how you can get involved, visit the project website at northlakewharf.wordpress.com

    The Floating Homes Association has written a letter endorsing the project.

    -Jake Beattie, Deputy Director for the Center For Wooden Boats

    Sam DeBord and Brian Wiegand
    Seattle Real Estate Brokers
    Seattle Waterfront Homes
    (206) 552-8820

    SeattleHome.com

  • Condo Sales in Green Lake, Seattle First Half of 2009

    Posted Under: In My Neighborhood in Green Lakes  |  July 7, 2009 10:27 PM  |  1,184 views  |  No comments

    Condo sales in the Green Lake neighborhood of Seattle have been slower than single family home sales during the first half of 2009.  Days on Market has averaged 61 days so far, a significant margin above houses' marketing time.  Median prices for the first half of the year stand at $215,000 for a typical 2 bedroom, 1 bath condo.

    The longer time on the market may be attributed to pre-sale, under construction projects.  Many of these condos will go on the market well before completion and artificially inflate the marketing time by including presale time.  Even still, for such a well-known and valued neighborhood, condos seem particularly affordable at the moment in Green Lake.

    Green Lake, Seattle Condos For Sale

  • Green Lake, Seattle Homes Sales, Year-to-date, 2009

    Posted Under: In My Neighborhood in Green Lakes  |  July 6, 2009 10:49 PM  |  1,120 views  |  No comments

    Green Lake homes are selling at a fast rate in 2009.  At just 31 days, the median time on the market shows a popular neighborhood where single family homes are still in demand.

    Most local real estate professionals understand how loosely the "Green Lake" neighborhood label is applied.  I've seen it used for homes as far South as 45th St and as far North as 100th St.  Real estate agents understand the power of the neighborhood name being associated with a home.

    The median home price in 2009 for single family homes  is $445,000, with a max sale of $1.2 million and a low of $200,000 (undoubtedly a family sale/tear down/distress sale, etc).  It seems that the Green Lake neighborhood is surviving some of the downturn that has hit other neighborhood's real estate markets.

    Green Lake Seattle Homes For Sale

  • Lake Union's Eastlake Floating Homes - Mallard Cove and Roanoke Reef

    Posted Under: In My Neighborhood in Eastlake  |  June 11, 2009 8:24 AM  |  1,178 views  |  No comments
    Seattle Floating Homes 

    I had a chance to visit a few floating homes with my business partner, Brian Wiegand, and some of our clients this week in the Mallard Cove community on Lake Union.  The location at Mallard Cove is ideal, with quick freeway access and gate-free access to the homes. 

    This section of Eastlake has a nice setup for the floating homes, with the Roanoke Reef homes as one outer cluster enjoying the best views and serving as a breaker for the Mallard Cove homes closer to shore.  The waters inside the cove are particularly calm, but this is Lake Union, so even the outer homes don't get particularly large waves.


    Floating homes in this neighborhood seem to be a bit more uniform than those in Portage Bay, as most looked to be fairly modern in updating.  Most of the homes have a boxy design, using their full potential for interior living space.  Portage Bay floating homes, on the other hand, range from creatively-designed modern masterpieces to cobbled-together shacks clinging for their lives to century-old logs.

    This neighborhood of floating homes probably has the best range of views in Seattle, from the city skyline to the mid-Lake Union fireworks, to Gasworks Park.  It's undoubtedly a unique and relaxing place to live.

    Seattle Floating Homes

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