The ultimate summer luxury? Your own private sparkling swimming pool. It’s a fantastic way to keep fit, entertain the family, stay cool in summer and create an incredible outdoor space in your home.
Not every buyer wants a pool, however, and a poorly-designed, ugly or run-down pool can detract from a home’s value. Adding a pool takes serious commitment: you need space and money to install the pool itself, plus the fencing and landscaping.
You’ll also need the time and money to maintain and heat it. It’s no wonder that only 3% of New Zealand homes have swimming pools; and no wonder they’re sometimes named among the least profitable types of renovations for your home.
Is that fair, though? If you spend $100,000 on a pool, will you increase your house’s value by that amount? “Absolutely, and then some,” says Ross Hawkins of New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty.
“If you use good landscape design and make it high quality, you’ll generally get back more than what you put in. A really nice outdoor environment gives you a feeling of being on holiday at a resort – and it’s also nice to look onto.”
Hawkins says if your house is at the upper end of the market, some buyers will rule it out if it doesn’t have a pool. Good-quality concrete pools are the most desirable; old-fashioned tiles can easily be updated. Vinyl-lined pools, he adds, don’t seem to last as long and buyers are less impressed.
He’s noticed smaller ‘endless’ pools are particularly popular with downsizers and those living in townhouses – they’re perfect for fitness as well as being cost-effective to heat.
Putting in a small in-ground concrete swimming pool, 3m x 5m, will typically cost $35,000 to $65,000, according to Jeremy Wyn-Harris of Builderscrack. A medium-sized pool of 4m x 8m will cost $60,000 and $90,0000; a large 6m x 12m pool will be more like $150,000 to $220,000.
Fibreglass pools are similarly priced. He adds that you should also factor in the cost of landscaping: “New pavers and fences; trees can be quite pricey; getting it just right can cost tens of thousands of dollars.”
Heating your pool means you can get the most fun from your investment, says Wyn-Harris, so take the time to set up a good system. Putting in spa as well can turn the pool area into an all-year-round space, so it’s definitely worth considering.
“I think in Auckland, where it’s pretty humid, the majority of people at the high end of the market like a pool, even if they don’t necessarily expect it,” says Hawkins.
“If you do a really nice pool in the right property with landscaping it adds value for sure. If someone doesn’t want a pool, it’s not the right house for them.”