As home prices rise, some find floating homes more affordable - KPTV - FOX 12

As home prices rise, some find floating homes more affordable

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With home prices still on the rise across the Portland metro area, some people are turning to the water, where floating homes are a surprisingly affordable option.

According to Zillow, Portland home prices are up 8.1 percent in the past year, putting home ownership out of reach for some people.

“We downsized from a 3,700 square foot house to a 2,400 square foot house,” floating home owner John Buntin said.

Buntin and his wife decided to make a big lifestyle change, getting rid of a bunch of their belongings and living on the Multnomah Channel. He says, surprisingly, they saved money doing it.

“If we wanted to downsize to this size of home where we currently live, we would spend almost what we sold the house for,” Buntin said. “So, this was a less expensive alternative. Plus, you get the water and everything that goes along with it.”

The water is what makes Amy Sedgwick's job an easy one. She’s a realtor with Floating Homes Portland and specializes in floating homes. She helped John find his new home. He’s been living there a month now.

With floating homes, it's less like owning a house and more like owning a boat. Instead of a 30 year loan, loans top out at 20 years and you must put 20 percent down.

“The market time is not as fast,” Sedgwick said. “They're on the market a little bit longer, so there isn't that sense of frenzy or panic and buyers aren't giving up their rights.”

Floating homes come with monthly fees which pick up your water, sewer and garbage, and secures your spot in the marina. 

Sedgwick says that can run between $300 and $700 dollars a month in most cases.

“They're affordable,” Sedgwick said as she showed us a 940 plus square foot home she calls the Artist Cottage. “This is $246,000 for two bedrooms, two baths.”

She also has a one bedroom, one bath floating home that is selling for under $124,000.

As for Sedgwick, she owns a floating home too.

“I do have one of these. I'll never go back,” she said.

Sedgwick says, for many marinas with floating homes, it's a special kind of community you can't get anywhere else.

“We water each other's plants and we look after each other's things. It's a great way to live,” she said.

Sedgwick says this kind of home is not for everybody. There's wind in the winter and getting groceries down from the parking lot in the rain can be cumbersome. If you have young children or have trouble walking, a floating home might not be for you.

However, Sedgwick says it's a great option to explore for most people in today's crazy housing market.

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