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Floating homes of the future: Are they more than a novelty?

The concept is intriguing but actually launching these concepts will take more than calm seas.

Honestly, if I want to travel on the water I’ll get a boat. If I want to live on the water I’ll book a vacation to Montego Bay. That said, I envision rough seas ahead for some of the latest houseboat variations that are looking to find their niche on in the “open water” housing market.


All aboard

To show you two extremes you need only look at Lazzarini Design’s Floating UFO home (That stands for Unidentified Floating Object) and then take a peek at The Floating Seahorse, a series of luxury floating villas that are partially underwater and constructed by real estate agency Kleindienst Group. Each has their pros and cons. I’m not entirely sure The Floating UFO home even takes itself seriously, while Seahorse is certainly looking to appeal to the “I’ve got more money than I know what to do with” demographic.

So what about waves?

The Floating UFO touts itself as a “floating home.” Complete with a garden, bike path, a bathroom, solar heating panel and a living room. And it even moves! Come on. Somewhere on the Seven Seas, Jacques Cousteau is turning over in his wetsuit

Maybe you can move the Floating UFO from one point of the dock to another or putt-putt in calm waters but you surely are not going to do any serious traveling in this thing.

With a price tag of about $200,000 these folks would do better to spend a little more money on an honest-to-goodness open water test and then get back to me with the results.

A real steal at half a million

The Floating Seahorse at least has the common sense to establish itself in Dubai where everything is artificial and built from the ground up. Want a beach? We’ll build one! Ocean full of sea life? We’ll ship it in. With a price tag of 1.5 mil you sure won’t have to worry about getting stranded on Gilligan’s Island. The Seahorse is envisioned as a community of several floating homes which will be situated off the coast of Dubai in THOE (The Heart of Europe). A series of artificial islands which itself is only part of a bigger 600 artificial island community.

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According to its website, “The master bedroom and bathroom will be totally submerged underwater and will command views of the surrounding coral reef and marine life.”

In addition, the sea level accommodation will boast floor to ceiling windows, uninterrupted sea views, a fully-fitted kitchen with a dining area, an open plan living area and a sun deck.

Prototype still docked

Although the Floating Seahorse was introduced at last year’s Dubai International Boat Show, the reality is that even since then the project is still awaiting approval. According to an article in Arabian Business, “The underwater villas are on a boat and can be moved; therefore the arrangement requires maritime authority approval.”

To further clog things up, the location for the floating homes, THOE, is in itself stuck in low tide: Arabian Business reports there has been almost no work on the islands since the economic crisis in 2008-09, when property values in Dubai plummeted as much as 60 percent.

Until then, take your pick: Floating UFO’s or Seahorses and, no doubt other prototypes that are trying to find their niche.

I want to believe it’s just a matter of time but for right now I’ll book a cruise instead and not worry about the residential real estate market losing land dwellers to the seas.


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Written By

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.


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