Swimming pool ownership increases – but is it worth the investment?


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In the 1990s, the swimming pool official overtook the piano as the status symbol of a household that was truly “keeping up with the Joneses”. New research from Roy Morgan has shown that almost 2.7 million Aussies have a pool in their backyard these days, with regional Queensland unsurprisingly the most likely place you’ll find a big ol’ body of water where the Hills Hoist used to be.

But, is a swimming pool a smart investment? Or is it more of a time-sucking money pit that will add little value to your property?

Let’s find out…

The survey says:

When Roy Morgan surveyed Australian households back in 2015, they found that 12 per cent were proud pool owners. The most recent survey, conducted this year, revealed that this figure has climbed to 13 per cent. In regional Queensland, one in five homes has a pool, while Perth and Brisbane are not far behind.

As you head south and the mercury drops, you’ll find only 15 per cent of Sydneysiders have access to swimming facilities at their home, and in Melbourne and Adelaide, the figure is just 9 per cent. In Hobart, owning a pool puts you in a pretty exclusive club – just 4 per cent of homes in the Tassie capital have one.

So, apart from the obvious lifestyle benefits, is putting in a pool a value-add when it comes time to sell your property?

Swimart surveyed homeowners, and 90 per cent of them believed their pool added value to their property. The average estimate was $30,000, with some owners believing their pool had the potential to increase their asking price by up to $100,000.

But, with energy costs rising and our busy lives making us increasingly too time-poor to maintain a pool, these hopeful homeowners might need to do a little more digging before they can say for sure that their pool has boosted the value of their property.

Location, location, location

Like many things in real estate, the tangible value of your pool comes down to location, location, location. Areas near the beach tend to have more pools, which may seem like an oxymoron, but when you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense.

People who choose to live near the beach are likely to be water babies, who love owning a pool so they can go for a dip when the sea water is a bit chilly, or they don’t feel like getting sand in their jocks. Demography of the suburb is another huge factor, with pools in family suburbs adding more value than those suburbs where fewer children live.

The median house price in the suburb also plays a part in how much value a pool can add to a property. In a high-end Sydney suburb where house prices top the $2 million mark, a pool could easily add $50,000-$100,000 to the price, while on the outskirts of Launceston where homes are more moderately-priced, you’re unlikely to reap such a high return.

Having a pool could also indirectly boost your home’s value, simply by generating interest. The mention of a pool in the marketing material might draw in potential buyers who would otherwise have skimmed over your property – potentially creating more competition come auction day. On the flip side, you might find investors steer clear of your home, for fear that future tenants may not take proper care of the pool.

Thinking of dedicating a chunk of your backyard to a pool? If you can, make sure the pool is visible from the main living areas – lounge or kitchen – as this will reassure parents. Also, check local council regulations regarding fencing and trees.

Solar heating is popular when it comes time to sell, as it reduces the ongoing running costs, and selecting a location that won’t be overrun with fallen leaves and branches will help keep maintenance expenses to a minimum.

Ultimately, if you (or the kids!) are desperate for a pool, you should go for it. You’ll undoubtedly create a lifetime of memories as you swim, splash and play, and if it adds value down the track, think of it as a nice little bonus.

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