Deal Maker or Deal Breaker?

What is the premium (or discount) for a backyard swimming pool?

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a single, reliable number.

That’s likely because a pool’s appeal is very much Buyer-specific — not to mention variable by price point and geographic region.

Minneapolis vs. Miami

So, for example, for a Twin Cities family with several young children, I can imagine a backyard pool being a negative if not a deal breaker, especially if it takes up the whole yard.

That’s because the pool represents a potential safety issue, and is really only usable a couple months a year (it IS Minnesota).

The rest of the time, it takes up valuable backyard space that could be used for playing frisbee, exercising pets, gardening, etc.

Now, imagine an upper bracket home in Miami without a pool.

Although that’s hardly my market, I can easily conceive that such a property would be a very tough sell indeed.

Effect(s) of Coronavirus Pandemic

Which leaves the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic.

While it’s still impossible to calculate a one-size-fits-all premium or discount for a swimming pool, I do think it’s possible to make a short-run prediction and a long-run one (I knew I’d use that Economics degree :)):

Short Run. At least this Summer, when many people are contemplating staying close to (or at) home, and local beaches may have limited access, a private, backyard pool is a more desirable amenity.

In turn, that may make “For Sale” homes with pools worth more and/or sell faster now.

Long Run. Assuming that the pandemic lifts in the next 12-18 months, however, I don’t see a major change in how backyard swimming pools affect home values long-term.

For stock market investors, it’s sort of like a company that reports a one-time windfall doesn’t suddenly command a significantly higher price.

Of course, having a backyard pool may increase a home’s rental value the next year or two . . .

See also, “Pool Discounts: How Much? (& When)“; “Winter Humor: Minnesota vs. Miami (& Elsewhere)“; and “Corner Lots: Premium or Discount?

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

Leave a Reply