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I had a few friends who lived on boats here in CA. According to them, permits to live on board of your boat is difficult to obtain, and any replacement/repair parts for the boat cost 3x to 5x more than comparable parts for their car. I haven't spoke to Barbara in a while but she used to live on a 60' sailing boat in the bay area. When I stayed on her boat for few days back in 2001, I did not like the toilet system on the boat.
My dad has owned a 2 sailboats in MT and ID. His current one is docked in lake Coeur d'Alene @$250 a month. It's an ocean going 32ft 1980 Catalina. He found it in the thrifty nickel paper up in Sand point ID for $9,500. Some Californian dragged it out to N. Idaho and later wanted out of it.
Anyhow, Its docked right next to a newer house boat..which i've been on. They resemble a floating mobile home to me with limited mobility. You can and always find great deals on boats it just comes down to how much you want to use it and the costs associated with them.
My goal is to own a sailboat, although I could see myself falling out of love with it if it became a burden or I wanted to go in a different lifestyle direction.