I’ve been asked “how much value does a swimming pool really add to your home?” many, many times, and my answer always is … it depends.
If you’re thinking of adding an in-ground pool or buying a home with an in-ground pool you’ve probably heard that tired old saw that a pool adds $10-15k value to a home and limits the buyer pool for your home when you go to sell it. While true as a sweeping generality, there’s more to this topic than meets the eye.
Nobody will argue that the swimming pool in the photo shown to the left will add considerable value to the home it accompanies. The reason is that it speaks to art and craftsmanship and quality … three important considerations for a pool or for that matter any addition or expensive home improvement. The design marries absolute unity with absolute variety and will be almost universally considered beautiful by most who encounter it. The scale also suggests that it is attached to a larger home on a larger piece of land … the other two key considerations when discussing similar improvements and their value.
Now most pools look like the one shown to the right. They are pretty ordinary, well-done, and cost somewhere in the under $50k range depending on it’s liner (plaster or vinyl). Included is a small hardscape area, cast concrete, pavers or exposed-aggregate concrete, and fenced enclosure around the pool area or the yard, depending on the local building codes. This is your classic in-ground pool and this one does add the $10-15k that any realtor will tell you. If you look at this picture you will see it is located in a fairly good sized yard, so it’s value would be in the upper end of the range. If it were on a small lot and took up most of the back yard it’s value would be in the lower end of the range.
The pool shown to the right is one that while costing in the $50-150k range will not add it’s full cost to the value of the home will add significantly more than the $10-15k typically bandied about. The natural stone hard-scape and the addition of an integrated hot-tub and gas-fired outdoor fireplace are desirable features that add value individually and add more combined value when integrated into a unified design. Again, as you can see, the pool is a small part of a larger yard and suggests it’s attached to a larger home with superior fit and finish.
Okay, so how can one determine what a pool adds in value.
For this exercise I took the price per square foot for homes sold in the last six months for million dollar properties in the inner suburbs of metrowest Boston. If you compare the price per square foot across the six selected towns you will see that there is a significant increase in the price per square foot in the selling price of homes sold with pools. You will also see that the overall increase for all the towns is pretty constant. So, as you can probably imagine, for these towns, pools that have a high degree of fit and finish and are in not outsized in proportion to their lot size add about 11% to the value.
Then if we take the number of homes sold with pools and compare them to the total market for their towns, we see a strong desire for them in some towns, in other towns not so much. For example, in Lincoln homes with pools represented almost half of the market, Weston homes with pools represented about a quarter of the market, while in Lexington they represented only about 10% of their market. So it could be figured that putting a pool in Lincoln or Weston is a much better investment than putting one in Lexington.
So as you can see, the real answer to the question is determined by two things: 1. how nice the pool is and 2. is it considered a valuable feature in the town where it is located.
Should you have questions about a specific application and location feel free to give me a call, I will be glad to help you out. Call or text 978-580-1069.