Homes for sale with swimming pool can be found across the country, but are most common in housing markets that have an endless summer.
2015 is shaping up to be a year of record-breaking weather. In fact, the first six months of the year is part of the hottest 12-year stretch in the 136 years that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has kept a record of climate changes. Just thinking about how hot it’s been makes one wish your home had a swimming pool. According to a recent Trulia survey, more than 1 in 3 (38%) Americans say their “Dream Home” has a swimming pool. Across the country, the demand for pools expectedly varies, being higher in the South (45%) and lower in the Midwest (31%).
Given the heat of the summer and, unfortunately, end of the pool season in some areas after Labor Day, we decided to explore all the homes listed for sale on Trulia in the 100 largest U.S. metros over the last year (June 2015 to June 2014) to see how many call out a “pool” as a selling point and how much a pool can add to a home’s listing price. Moreover, since pools are not universally common or desired across the country, we also explored the frequency of the words “hot tubs” and “Jacuzzi”.
Pools, Pools Everywhere in Florida, Arizona and Southern California
Have you ever looked out of an airplane’s window during its descent and wondered if all the homes you saw had swimming pools. If you did, you were most likely flying into one of Florida’s airports. That’s because pools are, in fact, most frequently mentioned in the for-sale listings of Florida homes. Among the top 10 metro areas with the highest share of pools, six were located in Florida. In fact, the top three are all along the sunshine state’s west coast — from Tampa down to Fort Myers, where on average about 30% of the for-sale listings mention pools. Orlando, West Palm Beach and Daytona Beach are three other Florida markets where pools are frequently mentioned. The rest of the housing markets on the top 10 list are in Arizona and Southern California.
While it’s not surprising to see more pools in hotter climates, we wondered if having a pool can boost a home’s value. When we controlled for a home’s size, age, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and location, we found that a swimming pool could boost a home’s listing price by more than 10% in some of the top 10 markets where pools are used as a selling point. In Florida especially, being able to mention a pool in a home’s listing can add between 12% and 19% to a home’s price. This is followed by California, where the price impact averages around 8%.
Meanwhile, the price impact was smallest in Arizona, at less than 5%. Why is this? Well, for one, this doesn’t mean that Arizonians don’t value pools. On the contrary, it more likely because pools are widely pervasive in Arizona homes and buyers expect having a pools to be a given. Case in point, Arizona has the highest share of pools per single-family homes in the country.
|Where Pools Are A Real Estate Selling Point|
|#||U.S. Metro||% of listings mentioning the word “pool”||How much (%) does having a pool add to a for-sale home’s asking price|
|1||Cape Coral–Fort Myers, FL||31.8%||19%|
|2||North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton, FL||29.8%||12%|
|6||West Palm Beach, FL||20.4%||10%|
|7||Orange County, CA||19.9%||6%|
|8||Daytona Beach, FL||19.6%||17%|
|9||Riverside–San Bernardino, CA||17.2%||10%|
|NOTE: Among the 100 largest U.S. metros
*not statistically significant
Meanwhile, at the lowest end of the spectrum, housing markets where pools are not a major selling point are generally in the Northwest and Midwest — with only about 1% to 2% of listings noting the presence of a pool in the home. Interestingly, it’s was in these markets where having a pool can negatively impact a home’s price. Why is that? Generally, markets like Seattle, Portland and Minneapolis have summers (aka, pool season) that are much shorter than the rest of the country — thereby making a pool more of a headache to maintain year round. Or here are markets like Denver or Madison where other outdoor swimming options such as lakes, rivers, bays, or community pools are readily available and make having a swimming pools at home less appealing.
Northeast Keeps Warm in the Heat of a Hot Tub
While home buyers located further up north aren’t big swimming pool fans, they do appreciate another type of water-related amenity — Jacuzzis and hot tubs. Among the top 10 markets that mention either one, six are located in Northeast, especially, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Some warmer areas also made it to the top 10 list, with two located in Louisiana, one in California and one in Florida. In those warmer areas, though, Jacuzzis and hot tubs are more often part of the pool ensemble.
|Where Hot Tubs Are A Real Estate Selling Point|
|#||U.S. Metro||% of listings mentioning the word “Jacuzzi” or “hot tub”|
|1||Baton Rouge, LA||4%|
|3||Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County, PA||3%|
|7||New Orleans, LA||3%|
|8||Orange County, CA||3%|
|9||Daytona Beach, FL||2%|
|NOTE: Among the 100 largest U.S. metros|
In the end, home sellers most often highlight the features in their homes that are most desirable where they live. Swimming pools are a coveted feature in those real estate markets with seemingly endless summer weather, but less so in locales were there are more cold days than hot days or where other swimming options are readily available. To have a pool, home buyers may need to pay a premium in some markets, but not where pools are ubiquitous feature of the market.