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Richmond mayor 'open' to idea of floating homes

Last Updated Apr 18, 2018 at 6:45 am PDT

(iStock)

RICHMOND¬†(NEWS 1130) – As the Lower Mainland continues to grapple with a housing crisis, could we see a move to floating homes? Richmond’s mayor says he’s open to the idea, and those building floating homes say there’s rising demand.

One local woman is sharing her experience living on the Fraser River in the Annacis Channel.

Sarah Racicot says she and her husband were priced out of the market after putting 20 offers down on homes in Surrey–and that’s when they chose a floating home.

She says it is significantly cheaper and really no different than a home on land.

“Obviously they range in value based on size [and location]. We live in more or less what would be a standard apartment size place, our place is 780 square feet,” she says. “We paid $55,000 [outright] for it… we don’t have a mortgage,” she says, adding you wouldn’t be able to buy a house on land for that price anywhere in the Lower Mainland.

“The only difference is you’re paying for your moorage, so you’re paying more or less what is a monthly rental fee.”

Racicot explains that $1,200-or-so mooring fee covers all your other costs like common area and dock maintenance, sewage and water costs, and garbage pick up in your marina. Some of the floating communities are ‘strata-fied’, like the one on Granville Island.

“If you want to live on the ocean..there is a price difference,” she shares. “The river tends to be a bit cheaper.”

She loves it, adding a big bonus to living right on the river is the wildlife that visits their dock.

One of the biggest misconceptions?

“It’s hooked up to city sewers, we get garbage and recycling pick up just like anyone else,” she says, adding toilets run like normal, and not like toilets in an RV like some people may think. It’s also not a houseboat and can’t move freely. If you want to move it, it needs to be towed.

She says living in a marina does have its challenges–the risk of pipes freezing over the winter does increase and has to be monitored. She also says you have to be hyper-aware of how much your home and the things in your home weigh since your home needs to float.

“You have to kind of sacrifice in terms of, we can’t have granite countertops or anything like that because you don’t want to be pushed down into the water too far.”

She says it’s a great alternative and she wouldn’t be surprised if more people moved into floating homes.

“From what I can tell…it’s the last affordable option for a lot of people,” says Racicot. “I think a lot of people are going to start looking to that and I would highly recommend float homes as an option.”