If you can’t decide between nature and the city – floating homes are the way to go. You really can’t find a more incredible place to live than on the water in the middle of a city in a funky little house – with all the conveniences of land. Seriously. City sewer and water. Normal city power hookups. But not normal city life. Ducks, seals, sometimes even whales and dolphins are your wildlife. The gentle lap of the tides and the rocking waves of passing boats put you to sleep at night. You awake to the sounds of seabirds. Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. And in a lot of cases, you’re at your office in the center of a city (pick almost any city but it needs to have water) in no time at all. Think Sleepless in Seattle – the Tom Hanks house. Wasn’t that nice?
It sold for $2 million, by the way (some time ago).
I guess it’s time to point out that it’s not the cheapest market to get into and on top of the purchase price, moorage fees can often run $1,000+ per month at an average marina. Park your home at a prestigious marina and all bets are off for fees. The Sleepless in Seattle floating home is on Lake Union, one of the more exclusive communities of float homes.
It’s a Way of Life
An attractive floating home in a good urban setting can easily set you back upwards of half a million dollars (and way more if you’ve got it), but there are float homes for less if you look around and particularly in smaller communities. Just think about the implications of towing it to another location, however. It’s not simple but it can be a very rewarding lifestyle. And if you can afford it, it makes a killer weekend home on the edge of the city.
This is not just a housing choice, you are choosing a way of life. And floating home communities are like small towns – everyone looks out for everyone, everyone says hello when you pass on the dock and you may make a lifetime of friendships there on the water. There is a camaraderie in dock life. I’ve done it – for seven years in Vancouver, albeit on a boat – a 48-ft Monk McQueen motor trawler. Yes, it can cost a bit more than you think to live on the water but the memories are priceless. Trust me, if you can do it, you should.
Seattle Floating Homes
This one is priced at $795,000 but has lots to offer. See more photos here. It’s located in the Eastlake community on Lake Union, a very desirable location.
Inside is bright and cheery and open with lots of light.
Floating home community docks always look so welcoming.
This one is priced at $3,250,000. Yes, you read that right. And, there is a sale pending. But never fear, there are plenty more where this one came from. Check Seattle Afloat for other options.
This is a top rate home that just happens to sit on top of the water. It has an interior as stunning as the exterior and views to die for.
Just imagine waking up to this view. Source
Floating Homes in Portland OR
On the River
This Portland floating home on the river is listed at $850,000 and has a lot going for it.
That’s quite the top deck.The kitchen is amazing. Look at the sunlight streaming in.
The wood plank ceiling and ceiling fan gives a bit of a tropical look. And look at the stained glass windows. A gorgeous floating home.
This sweet floating home in Portland recently sold for $159,000! Can’t beat that for a cottage. There are many more available from Amy Sedgewick. Check her site.
This is a cozy abode on the water!
Lots of room for dinner guests.
Floating Homes for sale on Canada’s West Coast
Just south of Vancouver BC, you’ll find a smattering of different float home communities.
This floating home is at Ladner Reach Marina in Ladner, BC and listed by Judy Ross at $449,000 $CDN (at today’s exchange rates – approximately $350,000 USD).
This floating home has an elegant interior. But if you want funky, you could just change the furniture and rugs. After all, it’s a floating home. They are funky to start with.
Lots of room in this floating home, and of course, the view is spectacular from every room. It’s waterfront, how can it not be?
Floating Homes in New Westminster, BC
Another river community in what is considered The Lower Mainland area of Vancouver BC, this one a little southwest of the city proper. Lots of other floating homes for neighbors.
This 1400-sf home is on a concrete and foam barge and has decks over three levels. Including a hot tub on one of them. Priced at $826,000 $CAD (approx.$660,000 USD). Source
This float home has a bar area – with a view.
The hot tub is really the crown jewel.
The docks look like small villages at night.
Floating Homes on the East Coast
Floating homes are fewer and further between on the east coast, at least until you get to Florida, and even then, they are not that common. Much more a Pacific thing, likely to do with a more moderate climate. But the example below is a lovingly renovated old barge, considered a floating home even though it was once a boat – because there is no motor or engine and it is stationary and cannot move without tug boat assistance. And this wonderful home sits in Buzzard’s Bay, in Fairhaven Massachusetts. The listing price is just $350,000. More information can be found here.
This one-time barge has been converted to a spectacular floating home. The trick is, it will need to be barged to another location, which is a bit of a process but can be done. It’s certainly weird to see your house being towed down the river, though.
Don’t you love the walls? You’d never know this was a converted barge.
This kitchen is really a winner. I’m sold.
London on the Thames
In London, they do it a bit differently. Most often, the floating home is a repositioned boat. It no longer has an engine and can’t be driven, but the construction is different than a tiny house on floatation devices. They can still be spectacular, however.
This beauty is moored at St. Katharine dock, close to Tower Hill tube station in London.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
Maybe not so famous, but I wanted to close with Shel Silverstein’s former floating home in Sausalito, CA. Quirky, eccentric and gorgeous – it sold recently for $635,000 and that’s really not a bad price given the market. I’d live here. Would you?
Just a little note about the former owner. I always knew he was an American writer, poet, cartoonist, songwriter and playwright. But I hadn’t realized that he wrote the songs The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, Cover of the Rolling Stone and A Boy Named Sue (among others). He lived on this floating home in Sausalito from 1967- 1975 and she has only changed hands a few times since then. I think she’s my favourite.
It doesn’t look like much on the outside.
But that all changes when you step in the door.
It almost looks like the inside of a country church.
The kitchen is full size and modern.
Lots of room – and a sophistication that you just don’t expect from the exterior.
Never judge a book by the cover! Especially a Shel Silverstein book.
Are you convinced yet? Go visit a floating home community. You’ll like it and who knows … maybe you’ll live in one someday.