Gas Works Park is the obvious example, but the recent completion of Waterway 18 is a perfect representation of the natural beauty along the Wallingford shores of Lake Union. Many find themselves wanting to be nearer to the waters of Lake Union, but Wallingford might not be the first obvious choice. Most people typically think of houseboats along the shores of Eastlake, Westlake, and Portage Bay, and are surprised to learn that Wallingford has a fairly substantial population of Seattle houseboats, too.
There are a couple major liveaboard marinas in Wallingford with slips that are large enough to accommodate houseboats as well as other types of live aboards.
Seattle Marina (2401 N Northlake Way) has a large population of mixed liveaboards. The Gas Works Park Marina (2143 N Northlake Way) has 70 slips and is organized into a condominium, so slips for liveaboards are owned moorage slips. The majority of the slips here are occupied by live aboard vessels, but there are a couple vacant ones from time to time and they also come up for sale. Prices for these slips are currently starting at around $100,000 and up depending on the size. A slip with a houseboat vessel will be more expensive.
Wallingford Houseboats in the MLS…
There are 6 Seattle houseboats for sale in Wallingford according to the listings pulled from the NWMLS. These range from $158,000 to $349,000 and are a mix of owned and leased slips. The median price on these is $269,000 and the average dollar per square foot is $359.00. The average size of these is 754 square feet with a range from 448 square feet to 1000 square feet for a stunning houseboat with an end of dock slip in the summer.
Are they moving? One houseboat in Wallingford has sold recently at $140,000 for 600 square feet. It was a newer 40 foot houseboat in the Seattle Marina with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. The slip lease on this one is $420/month. In the last year there have been 4 houseboats sold in these two marinas – ranging in price from $112,500 to $308,000.
Seattle houseboats: general term used to descibe vessels, barges, and floating homes
Vessels: Vessels are Seattle houseboats that move by self propulsion generally and sales tax must be paid by buyer during purchase (The houseboats in Wallingford are vessels and barges and generally about half the dollar amount per square footage as Seattle floating homes.). Vessels can go out for a lake cruise at any time.
Floating Homes: Seattle houseboats that are more permanently attached to the docks – can move but rarely and only with the help of a tug boat and many complicated coordinations. Excise tax is paid by seller when they sell just as traditional real estate. There are floating homes in Eastlake, Westlake, Portage Bay, and Fremont in Lake Union. Floating homes typically will be about twice the dollar per square foot of vessels. Unfortunately, there are very few places for floating homes to be moored after 100 years of tighter and tighter regulations by the city and other forces.
The future of Seattle houseboats on Lake Union: This unique neighborhood has been threatened at every turn, but there is new legislation in the works to help protect this iconic way of life afloat on Lake Union (details). The legislation if passed will define houseboats as a water-dependent use:
‘Water-dependent use’ means a use that cannot logically exist in any location but on the water. Examples include, but are not limited to: Water-borne commerce; terminal and transfer facilities; ferry terminals; watercraft sales in conjunction with other water-dependent uses; watercraft construction, repair, and maintenance; moorage and launching facilities; aquaculture; log booming; houseboats and houseboat moorages; and public fishing piers and parks.At last check, and according to Amalia at the Floating Homes Association, “It will only apply to non-navigable houseboats,” but it is a step in the right direction to keep an important neighborhood alive.