Discover fabulous views from amazing properties in Southwest Washington

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Affordable Waterfront View?

That seems like an oxymoron these days, right? Well yes and no, really. Portland and Vancouver offer some neighborhoods with actual waterfront living in a diverse array of houseboat communities. I wrote about some of these back in 2015 here is that article. This can be an affordable alternative to the high priced traditional waterfront living.

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, September 18, 2018

Best Mobile Home Park View?

Well friends if you need a mobile home Portland is your town! Yes I will head a mile south of the border to Hayden Island where we find the Hayden Island Manufactured Home Community. It is here where you will find a mobile home park with a few hundred mobile homes. Roughly 50 of these homes actually front the Columbia River. These home owners have had the prime viewing spot for the rise of Vancouver's new waterfront. The riverfront mobile homes have a small walking trail that lies between them and the embankment that drops down to the river.

Downtown Vancouver and Waterfront, taken from pathway
along river at Hayden Island Manufactured Home Community
The views from these manufactured homes, mostly double wide units and small lots, are as good as some homes I have seen in the multi-million dollar price range. These homes are much less expensive than that.
This is the view you'd get from one of the many decks strategically placed fronting the water in this pretty nice mobile home park.

One has to wonder how this park has resisted the temptation to redevelop this prime piece of Hayden Island riverfront. Yet it remains and oddly so does the empty lot just tot he east that was the former home of the Thunderbird Hotel.

It is kind of nice that folks on a more modest budget can find a place with a King's view yet it is an odd state of affairs to have that kind of real estate value under developed.

Sold unit $117k July, 2018
The unit shown to the left was sold over the summer at the tidy little price of only $117,000. That is cheap, but the space rent on these waterfront parcels is a bit higher than one might expect in a mobile home park community coming in at $922/month and likely rises every year. That is coupled with property taxes of $1850 a year. This view manny would cost roughly $1700 a month if financed. That is about what a garden variety no frills two bedroom apartment costs. Not bad really. Apartments in this area on either side of the river sporting a view like this would easily command double that monthly ticket.

So this quirky place on the island offers something genuinely unique in the area and for that it earns a spot on my golden view properties list. Very cool and remember, whatever your do, be sure to enjoy the view.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A New View is Emerging

It was bound to happen and it's happening now. It was only a matter of time before the new Vancouver Waterfront joined the the ranks of our local view properties. That time is now. The first two towers are about to open with the finishing touches going in now. The Rediviva is very close to opening and in fact they are taking leases now for some 63 luxury apartments in a 6 story building wedged between the topped out, Riverwest Apartment building opening first quarter 2019 and the new Murdock office tower opening next month. Some of these first apartments will feature some good views. Those that face the river should have a "forever" view as no buildings will go up in front of them. Those facing downtown will have temporary views until the buildings on the north side of the street are erected.

These are new views emerging. Soon residents will be living on the new waterfront. When I say soon I'm thinking as soon as next month! The Waterfront Project is planned to bring some 3300 units online over the next several years and many of these will have spectacular views of the river or downtown.

Most of the buildings that front the waterfront park will have permanent views of the river, park, and waterfront. Other views as mentioned above are subject to future development. Anyone planing to purchase a unit in one of these new projects should be careful about location if the view is a big part of the appeal or the price for that matter.

The waterfront area is more than just views, it is an urban neighborhood that is intended to be vibrant and busy with much to do all the time. The views are just an added bonus. They will come at a premium however, be sure to stay on top of the plans to make sure the view you buy today is a view you'll still have tomorrow.

I wrote a blog post on my real estate news blog about the Kirkland Tower here. That structure is under way and will feature 12 floors with luxury condos attached to an 8 story boutique hotel also under construction. Kirkland has a website here, and they are showing the views by floor. Apparently there will be windows facing every direction except east. They have floors two through eleven with photos of the "view." Kirkland tower is being erected right next door to the Murdock, so I'd imagine that the view west from floors 2-8 will be obstructed on day one. The south view should be a forever view as this tower will front the river. The north view is a wild card. Right now it seems like it will have a pretty spectacular downtown vista particularly up on the top six floors. But there are plans for taller structures on the north side of the street in the future. Timberhouse is already proposed for block 3 immediately north of Kirkland tower, that structure is to be 12 floors as well. A tallish building is planned for block 5 that is north of the two Block 6 towers opening in October.

The new view to the north is likely to be a bit temporary. If the developer has a lower price for north view due to the uncertainty of its longevity, these could end up being a bargain if plans change and a shorter building is erected instead. The FAA has already chopped the heights of a few planned towers in this development citing aircraft safety from the pair of airports nearby,  PDX and Pearson.

Here are the "views" from the future 11th floor condos in Kirkland tower taken last year before the towers rose to the west. These are from Kirkland's website.

Forever View from floors above the 4th floor
The Murdock is 7 stories, view partially protected above the 8th floor

Big wildcard here, almost certainly partial obstructions coming

The south view should be forever here, but trees in the park may eventually get tall enough to partially obstruct river views below the fifth floor. The west view is already obstructed by the nearly completed 7 story Murdock. Above the 8th floor should be fine, but partial future obstructions are likely as taller buildings are eventually erected on blocks 5 and 7. The north view is the big wild card and I believe that the Timberhouse will be erected and that is not only a tallish building with 12 floors, but it is proposed as a large building covering the whole block.

New views are truly rising up at the waterfront and all over downtown Vancouver existing views are changing as the skyline of this city is undergoing a remarkable growth spurt not seen since the early 2000's It's all very exciting, isn't it?

Whatever you do, be sure to enjoy the view.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Glorious Goldendale

Goldendale Washington is a small city in Klickitat County at the east end of the world famous Columbia River Gorge. It sits on the high plain north of the gorge at about 1500 feet above sea level. A colleague of mine recently took a listing for a wonder home and ranch on a fabulous 400 acre property on that plain just west of Goldendale.

There are some fine views in this area and this property is no exception. Both Mount Adams and Mount Hood are dominate on the horizon one to the Northwest the other to the Southwest. This particular property is amazing from a real estate perspective as well as a view property because it is the stuff of dreams and fantasy for a horse lover. Can you imagine having 400 acres to roam from meadowlands to forests all your very own. The place has two enormous outbuildings including a gorgeous 10,000 sf barn/arena/shop combo. The house has over 7,000 sf and can sleep 15. What a jewel.

This kind of property is truly unique and comes a premium price. But it is worth every penny of the $2.7 million listing price.

This could be a corporate retreat or the ultimate realization of a dream for a horse lover. Imagine not just enjoying the view from the deck of this home, but having over 400 acres of your very own to ride and take in the view of three major Cascade Volcanoes, the aforementioned Mount Hood, Mount Adams, and even Mount St. Helens.

Goldendale is a four season climate but neither the summer nor the winter is extreme. You will enjoy snow in the winter and plenty of warm sunshine in the summer.

I sure do love me a good view :) If you would like more information on this property, I have it posted on my website here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I'll be heading out through the Gorge on Friday to shoot pictures of a new listing way out in Goldendale. Some gorgeous views await all who venture into the amazing Columbia River Gorge. I'll revisit a post from yesteryear below.

Originaly posted September 18th, 2014, by Rod Sager

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is quite spectacular. The area is governed by a commission that makes building homes in the region challenging. The commission must approve all buildings and has a very strict set of guidelines for new construction. This is all intended to protect the integrity of America's second largest gorge behind the Grand Canyon.

All of that gorge commission red tape aside, the views from some of the homes are stunning. This 1.39 acre lot in White Salmon, Washington is listed at $500,000. It is in one of the few urban exemption zones and thus requires no gorge commission review to build. The views are quite amazing both urban and natural. This lot looks across the Columbia into Hood River, Oregon.

Prices are steep for these exempt parcels but the home will have an obstruction free view of one of the worlds most spectacular natural features and the glimmering lights of Hood River on the other shore.

The gorge-ous home shown here is listed at 1.1 million and is on the same bluff as the land listing. This is a spacious three bedroom home with 2600 squares and a three acre lot. The home has equally dramatic vistas. Looking West peers into the temperate rain forest portion of the Gorge. Looking East shows the dramatic transition to arid grass lands.

The Columbia River Gorge is a truly remarkable scenic area and to live up on a bluff overlooking this magnificent natural wonder is absolutely heavenly.

White Salmon is a city of roughly 2,300 people in Klickitat County. It is connected to Hood River, OR by the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge across the Columbia River. This long cantilever bridge spans nearly a mile across the river and features a lift section to accommodate commercial river traffic. White Salmon is 68 miles East of Downtown Vancouver via Washington State Hwy 14.

Hood River, Oregon has roughly 7,900 people and a nice historic downtown area. The city is 65 miles East of Portland, OR via Interstate 84.

This is a great area to retire and soak up the bounty of nature. The Washington side offers some advantages to retirees which you can read about on my Retire to Washington Blog.

I highly recommend you take a lovely drive into the Gorge and please, enjoy the view.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Salmon Creek Greenway

I listed a fabulous home along the Salmon Creek Greenway recently. What a great location for a home. There are a number of neighborhoods scattered along both sides of the Salmon Creek Greenway and many homes are situated on lots that abut the open space area. Since there are modest bluffs overlooking Salmon Creek, these homes often feature some nice views.

This particular house is one of many along either the North or South side of the creek. This one is on the north side near the Pinewood Golf Course. It is a nice modest neighborhood with one street along the creek front, offering views from the back.

These deep lots extend down the hillside right up to the boundary of the greenway. They are fairly private and offer a range of views from peekaboo to sweeping, depending on the amount of tree cover the homeowner maintained.

Salmon Creek is a large year round creek that is more like a small river than a "creek." This natural greenway is locally protected as open space, and wetlands, providing a place for migratory birds and other wildlife.

What a wonderful view and fabulous location. Just another awesome example of Clark County Cool and yet another way to enjoy the view.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Waterfront View Properties Coming Soon

Those of you that follow my 'Couv' Life blog, know that the waterfront has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Vancouver's stunning new waterfront development will have its first view condos and apartments coming online this summer and fall.

This development is in the first of several phases coming over the next 6-8 years. There is a gorgeous waterfront park with a 90 foot cable suspended pier that will connect to the Terminal One Port of Vancouver project and the Waterfront Trail. The initial structures going up now are a couple of restaurant buildings in front of the pier and three towers of 7, 6, and 7 floors mixed office apartments, condo, etc. These shorter buildings will have unobstructed views of Mount Hood and the Mighty Columbia River from the southern exposure side of the buildings. The northern exposure ultimately will have an urban view of other tall structures going up downtown and at the waterfront. Future taller structures will rise up behind these waterfront buildings some also should offer views from an even higher vantage point.

This project has been in the works for over a decade so the fact that the first phase will be open this summer and fall is exciting. This video taken last month shows and over view of the project, you can see just how large the scope is as the five buildings underway are just a tiny portion of the 20 square blocks of the Waterfront. Next door at Terminal one another large project was recently approved that will include additional mixed use development and public space.

This amazing new urban community will fundamentally transform the Vancouver USA skyline with dozens of structures over the next several years some rising above 20 floors. You may remember I wrote about Vancouver's increasing downtown urban view properties a while back, here.  Vancouver USA is a prime alternative to Portland's South Waterfront and Pearl District. Washington State offers an often more advantageous tax situation over neighboring Oregon and this could make Vancouver Waterfront the ideal location for many urbanites looking for a great view.