You may love the idea of a fixer-upper, but can you imagine fixing up a freighter and living in a sailing vessel as your permanent home? If this sounds appealing to you, then the latest trend in Dutch living could be right up your alley. Houseboat appeal is particularly high in cities like Amsterdam, where land is scarce and an apartment with less than 1,000 square feet could cost more than $1 million. “Houseboats have come a long way,” happily reports one new homeowner (boat-owner) who spent a little more than $725,000 to renovate his 1892 freighter into a luxury home. For would-be homeowners who do not actually care to sail their abode about, there are also floating, barge-like homes that float on the water but are permanently moored and do not have to remain seaworthy. Although the appeal of houseboats is on the rise in the Netherlands as a whole, Amsterdam’s market is a buyer’s market, for now thanks to city officials cracking down on the number of houseboats it will permit and strictly regulating the structures to keep them “more in tune with inner Amsterdam’s historic architecture.”

If you think that houseboat living might translate well for you in the United States, you could be right. The trend is growing here as well. New houseboats can be as expensive as designer yachts and have all the bells and whistles of a land-bound home, but there are also older models that can be financed for about 20 percent down (in most cases) and payments of around $370 a month for 10 or 15 years. Of course, insurance can be tricky and interest rates tend to be higher than they are on conventional home purchases.