Question: Have you seen a change in demand for home pools since COVID began?
Answer: In 2017 I wrote that for most homes in Northern VA (and the DC Metro), having a pool had a negative impact on resale because most buyers see them as a hazard, unnecessary expense, and/or inefficient use of yard. However, COVID has changed the minds of many buyers and caused demand for homes with pools to increase significantly.
Demand For Pools Much Higher in 2020+
Below is a look at the data (as of April 4 2021) behind homes sold with a pool in Arlington County, Falls Church City, Alexandria City, Fairfax County, and Loudoun County since 2015. The numbers were pretty consistent prior to 2020, then demand clearly shifted in favor of pools due to COVID. All indicators improved significantly for people selling a home with a pool.
|Year Listed||Avg Sold to Original Ask||Avg Days on Market||% Sold Within 10 Days||# Sold|
Demand Similar Across Northern VA
I broke down the sales data since 2015 between each Northern VA jurisdiction to see if certain markets perform better or worse on sales of homes with pools. It turns out that there’s not much of a difference on where you’re buying in Northern VA, the interest in pools seems to be relatively similar across each market. Note how few homes in Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church have pools.
|County/City||Avg Sold to Original||Avg Days on Market||% Sold Within 10 Days||Avy Lot Size||# Sold|
|Falls Church City||97.7%||57||44%||0.35||16|
Looking For A Pool?
If you’re looking for a house with a pool in Northern VA, I wrote an article last year breaking down what sub-markets you’re most likely to find homes with a pool for sale and the sales data for those homes.
Unfortunately, it’s incredibly expensive to build your own pool here. Most people are shocked when they find out what it costs to build a gunite (concrete) in-ground pool around here, which usually runs $150k-$200k+ before additional patio and landscaping work.
I linked up with local Arlington landscape designer/expert Rob Groff, of Groff Landscape Design, to find out why it’s so much more expensive to build a pool here than elsewhere in the region/country and ask about a common strategy I’ve heard from homeowners to hire an out-of-town company to build a pool for less and pay for their travel/lodging during the project to save some money.
Q: Why is it so expensive to build a pool here?
A: It’s so much more expensive to build a pool here because permitting is more time consuming and expensive, materials and labor are more expensive, average lot size is smaller which oftentimes causes for problems, engineering, municipal related site preparation such as construction entrances, super silt fence, site restoration, drainage, etc are all a factor.
Q: Is it more cost effective for homeowners to hire an out-of-town pool company who builds pools for less money and pay for their travel/lodging?
A: A lot of pool companies don’t include all expenses up front and therefore there are a ton of surprise costs on the back-end of the pool project. I’ve seen this a lot especially from out of area pool companies. We actually setup a spreadsheet and accompany some of our clients in the vetting process. We had a local company at 205k for a pool that a Fredericksburg based company had at 145k. By the time the meeting was over and we corrected the Fredericksburg company to make sure they didn’t leave anything off, they were up at 215k.
Q: Are there more affordable options for in-ground pools that you recommend?
A: In Northern Virginia, a gunite (concrete) pool has been the standard for a long time. On average, we see these coming in at $150k-$200k in Northern Virginia (not including the pool patio and other surrounding elements like landscaping, lighting, etc). Fiberglass pools are growing in popularity and their base price is closer to $55k-$65k (River Pools and Spa). These fiberglass pools don’t feel the same to many homeowners as a true gunite pool, but they save enough money to make people consider them. There are a ton of good videos on their website that explains the differences between gunite and fiberglass, etc.
If you’d like to discuss buying, selling, investing, or renting, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Eli@EliResidential.com.