Discover fabulous views from amazing properties in Southwest Washington

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The newest condo tower in Vancouver is going to have some excellent views. I was one of several agents that toured the nearly complete project donning a sporty hard hat. Among many exciting features Kirkland Tower will have a community rooftop garden on the 12th floor overlooking Downtown Vancouver. Imagine watering your tomatoes and soaking in the fabulous urban landscape.

These views will come at a premium, the Tower is the only one of its kind in the Portland - Vancouver metro area. A so called 'Lifestyle Living' arrangement whereby the condos are attached to a hotel and the services of the hotel are part of the HOA. Homeowners can use most if not all of the hotel services such room service, concierge, etc. Units will start in the low $900's and top out in the low to mid $4 million range, monthly fees likely in the $1000 a month range as well. It's all good right ;)

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Another look at Houseboats

With property values skyrocketing, houseboats are gaining an edge. Moorage fees are not seemingly as bad when contrasted with high land costs.

Originally posted March 17th, 2015, by Rod Sager

Floating views? You may be thinking I am taking advantage of Washington State's legal marijuana with a headline like that. No, I assure you I am quite sober. The Portland metro area however does have a pretty large collection of floating homes. I would say the lion's share is in the inside channel of the Columbia River between Hayden Island and North Portland. This channel is protected from the main Columbia River traffic and flow through clever engineering. There are a variety of yacht harbors and marinas in and around Hayden and Tomahawk Islands in North Portland. Of course there are hundreds of permanent floating homes in the area as well. These vary from cozy little ensembles well under $100,000 to elaborate floating mansions approaching a million dollars.

Over here on the Washington side of the Columbia we have floating homes as well. Although our collection is much smaller since the Columbia River's main channel is not suitable for such housing. Our shore of the Columbia features more traditional and very expensive river front property. There is Caterpillar Island however, that creates a narrow inside channel. It has a marina and house boats. These floating homes look over the water into a recreation area on the island.

Here in the 'Couv' we have the beautiful Vancouver Lake and it is drained by a tributary called the Lake River. The Lake river carries water from Vancouver Lake to the Columbia River. Unlike the Hayden Island urban style of floating homes, the Lake River features homes that look across the water and into a National Wildlife Refuge. In Vancouver and Ridgefield are two more such places to buy a floating home with a view. The upside to the Lake River is that it is a very slow flowing tributary. There are strict 5 mph speed limits and no through traffic at all. Motorized vehicles are strictly restricted on Vancouver Lake and heavily regulated on the Lake River.

Here is an opportunity to own waterfront view property starting at entry level prices. I have seen listings as low as $20,000. There are of course some issues to be considered. First and foremost is the very name of these properties; floating homes. Yes they are floating and there is some mild swaying that happens in this type of home. It is not as bad as you might imagine however. There is also the marina fees. Just like a manufactured home in a park, these homes occupy a rented space. In this case a marina slip and those will having monthly fees ranging from $200-$500. These marinas sometimes offer a variety of services included with the slip fee.

There is some special maintenance requirements with this type of home and they are less forgiving than a traditional home when it comes to neglect. All of this aside many people enjoy the dockside living afforded to floating home owners. Although the views are sometimes limited due to the close proximity of the homes, they can be quite enjoyable.

The Columbian newspaper ran an article on houseboats here. Due to Washington State's more strict laws governing navigable waterways it is more difficult to build houseboat communities than it is in neighboring Oregon. This could be a factor in why we have fewer such facilities on the Washington side. Houseboat living is yet another way to enjoy the view.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Best View Values in the Couv

There are a handful of spots that offer up views on the skinny dime in Vancouver. Well not that skinny, have you seen real estate prices lately? But reasonably priced view property is not unheard of if you know where to look. So full disclosure most of these are condos, but there are some single family neighborhoods with views on the cheap as well. With no further adieu here is the Top 10 Best Value View neighborhoods in Vancouver in no particular order:

  • Mount Vista. This is a 1970s & 80s neighborhood up above the WSU Vancouver campus and some homes in the area are dated and thus can be had for seemingly low prices especially with some views that are often about with Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams prominent as well as some peeks at Mount Hood. Mount Vista is about 500' above sea level up top and about 175' at the base. High enough for some nice views, low enough to stay clear of snow most of the winter. Single family homes range from $450,000 to $1,000,000 plus.
  • Lakeshore only has a few streets offering views. These are perched on a bluff overlooking Fruit Valley and Vancouver Lake. The elevation on top of the bluff is only about 200' above sea level but the base is just a few feet above, so some good views can be had. Single family homes in Lakeshore can be found in the upper 300's with out a view but the nicer stuff on the bluff will quickly escalate into the 700's with larger and newer homes busting out above $1 million. The neighborhood runs the gamut from 1940s bungalows to modern homes and just about every decade in between. There is something for everyone.
  • Harney Heights. This neighborhood lies just east of Downtown up on a bluff. The south facing portion of the bluff is called Southcliff and it is filled with very expensive homes, but the Northside is Harney Heights. You don't get the spectacular Columbia River views from this side, but there are some Vancouver Skyline views from one street and the whole north rim features homes perched 150' above Fourth Plain Village with excellent unobstructed views of Mount St Helens. Most of these homes in Harney Heights are modest Kaiser Cottages from WWII with two or three bedrooms and one bathroom. Most of the war house are well under 1000 square feet. They can be found from the mid 300's up to around $550,000 for a really sleek remodel.
  • Parkview Tower. Parkview is a 7 story condo building that fronts Esther Short Park downtown. This mid-rise project was built in 2004 and features dozens of park facing units that offer a glorious view. Unlike its richer big brother, Viewpoint, these units can be found for sub-median prices. The units tend to be a bit spartan and smaller, but park facing condos can be had for well under $400,000. Everything is a short walk form this building.
  • Shorewood. This 50 year old condominium complex features a half dozen buildings from 4-7 stories in height. most of the units feature a Columbia River view. The towers are perched up on the bluff overlooking SR-14 about 200' above the Columbia River. These are some of the best hillside river views out there and since it is an older development, there are sometimes dated units in there well under $300,000.
  • Steamboat Landing. This is a development right along the Columbia River. This gated community features its own private yacht harbor. What makes it a value is the fact that it is about the only community in Old Evergreen that offers modest homes and small lots that have direct river access and views. Most of the stuff along this route is gigantic mansions with 10,000 square feet on manicured acreage and prices so deep into the seven figures most people can only imagine that level of decadence. But steamboat still has homes in the 700's and for this type of locale, that is a bargain. The houses in here are packed in tight with really small yards.
  • Winchester Hills. This is technically a Camas neighborhood, but it is surrounded on three side by the City of Vancouver. Originally an unincorporated area of Vancouver later incorporated into the City of Camas. But none-the-less there are some views of the River and the Portland city Skyline from homes in this neighborhood. Typically the views are from the second floor and not everyhouse has a view of course. These tend to be larger homes built mostly in the 1990s. This makes them quasi affordable for what they are. Pricing in the mid $600,000s to upper $800,000s.
  • Father Blanchet Park. This area is just below the Heights and has a mixed bag of homes some costing well over $1,000,000 but others very modest and even some fixers that can be had for $500,000-$600,000. Buying a dated older home with a few pimples in this neighborhood makes sense. The sky is the limit on value, you'd be hard pressed to over improve. And many homes have Columbia River Views!
  • Columbia Shores. Mostly condos here some very expensive multi-million dollar units are around, but most in here are nice middle class priced units in the $350,000-$500,000 range. Units in the condo tower and the Village above the 3rd floor offer nice river views and city lights.
  • Burnt Bridge Creek. This may surprise a few but there are many homes that line the northernmost edge of this neighborhood and look out across low land marshes that for the most part are un buildable. "For the most part" at some point in the future they may build there so this is not a forever view scenario. But Mount St. Helens is visible from many spots in this neighborhood. Single family homes in here are modest designs from the 1990s and prices tend to be around $400,000 to $550,000.
  So there you have it, some value views in Vancouver.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Viewpoint Still a Player in the High-rise View Condo Market

I have a client eyeing urban condos in Vancouver right now and I toured this Viewpoint unit recently. Viewpoint is still the highest condo tower in Vancouver by floor count. By actual "height" it is probably the two 7 story Shorewood towers which sit atop a bluff in the Heights. But Viewpoint is a 4 story condo complex perched atop a 7 story office building. So floor 8-11 are condo and this unit was on the 8th floor. I have been inside several homes in Viewpoint but each and every one was facing east rather than west. The east view offers up the Cascade Range as a distant vista, but the west view looks over the park and the waterfront. 

The 8th floor does suffer from some low angle obstructions as the 7 story Parkview tower is in front of you and so is the 6 story Columbia at Vancouver Center. But the west hills of Portland and the Oregon Coast range lies in the distance and that does make for some dramatic sunsets. This particular unit was a Northwest corner unit so it has two patios both covered and the main patio is huge. Due to the proximity of Esther Short Park the view here is protected and that is a nice thing. To the north the view had a close call with death when Holland originally proposed an 11 Story office tower. They scaled that back to six and this view is unobstructed to both the west and north for the most part.

I tend to like these urban views but it isn't for everyone. One of the nice bits is that nighttime tends to light up nicely. Also these Downtown locations are walking distance to scores of restaurants and breweries. So that's a plus, right?

This condo has over 1500 SF and is listed at $979,900. It is in the heart of downtown.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

A Memorable Memorial Day

Of course Memorial Day is in fact a memorial to the men and women of the armed forces that died in service, defending America. It also has become the defect start of summer in many parts of the country. Rarely in the SW Washington does it actually 'start' summer. Generally we receive some cloudy, cool, and wet weather for at least half of June. But this past weekend was nothing short of summertastic! Warm weather filled with bright sunshine was the theme for most of SW Washington including the coast for the most part. 

This summer should see a near return to normal as the Governor is planning on having the entire state open by June 30 or earlier. The coast relies heavily on summer fun at the beach and this summer should be much better than the lockdown infected summer of 2020.

Get out to the coast this summer and if you can take some time to check out the local real estate scene. There are still relative values on the Long Beach Peninsula and retiring to the beach might just be for you. My sister and brother-in-law love it!   

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Five Great View Properties Currently For Sale

I went through the MLS this morning and grabbed five listings with nice views from across the broad spectrum of price from sub-median to the billionaires club. Take a look! These are ordered by price from lowest to highest. All listings were active the local MLS this morning.

  1. Parkview Condo Downtown Vancouver. This lovely unit overlooks Esther Short Park. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and 836 SF. It is a park facing unit with a balcony that overlooks the park from the fifth floor of the 7 story Parkview building. Listed by Coldwell Banker for $365,000 
  2. Shorewood Condo in the Heights of Vancouver. This condo is a nicely updated unit in an older building. It is on the fourth floor of a 7 story tower that overlooks the Columbia River. It features 2 bedrooms and 2 baths with 1664 SF. These unit feature patios and this unit has a lovely view. Listed by Coldwell Banker for $450,000
  3. Brand new Columbia Palisades townhouse under construction. This is Vancouver's newest neighborhood lying on the eastern border with Camas. Perched up on a bluff overlooking the mighty Columbia River these units have excellent views. This will be part of an urban neighborhood with quick access to SR-14. Listed by Realty One Group for $1,100,000
  4. Spacious Meriwether Condo at Columbia Shores. These units all face the river with sweeping unobstructed views. The home features 2 bedrooms and 3.5 baths with 3102 SF. This unit is a ground level 2 story unit in a 4 story building. Meriwether offers secure underground parking and secure access to the building. Listed by Christie's International for $1,750,000
  5. Here is one of the most expensive properties among local active listings. This palatial home features 6 bedrooms, 6 baths, 3 partial baths, and 11,649 SF. This one is situated on 10.6 acres and the grounds are quite lovely as is the view from high atop Prune Hill in Camas. Listed by eXp Realty for $13,997,000
I love showing my clients view properties because I do so enjoy the view! Feel free to contact me for additional information on these or any other listings you fancy or should you wish to list your home. 360-737-4600.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Columbia Palisades Just Got Real

Borrowing from Apple iPhone there, but this isn't about the iPhone 12 and its 5G. Columbia Palisades went from dream to reality fairly quickly. This new neighborhood is being carved out of the old Fisher's Quarry rock and gravel mine on 192nd Avenue and Brady Road. Last year lots were sold up along the rim of the quarry for single family homes. Many of those homes are already built and most of the others are underway. This homes have rather spectacular views of the river and the city lights at night.

But now Kirkland Development, the company behind the 12 story Kirkland Tower condos at the waterfront, the Indigo Hotel at the waterfront, and the ambitious redevelopment proposal of the Restaurant properties just east of the Interstate Bridge; yes that Kirkland, is about to begin the Ledges at Columbia Palisades. 

This was originally a pair of seven story buildings one with apartments the other with condos. That is still the arrangement but the structures will only rise five floors in the final product. This should allow for a more affordable Palisades experience than the gazillion dollar homes perched up on the rim.

Contrary to what you mapping software might think, this entire project is in Vancouver, not Camas. The homes perched up on the cliff however will be part of the Camas School District despite their location inside the incorporated City of Vancouver. Confusing, but whatever, it works. The apartments and condos will likely be part of the Evergreen School District. 

The views here are pretty solid despite a base elevation between 200 and 400 feet. This development also has amazing access to the 192nd Avenue shopping corridor and immediate access to the SR-14 freeway. This should be a roaring success for those looking for a slightly less urban experience but not quite the three dogs in the yard suburbia routine. Bravo Vancouver, looking good at the east end.

What ever your do, enjoy the view!