While swim season in the U.S. falls between Memorial and Labor Day, Arizonans are blessed with warm, sunny weather almost year-round. The temperate climate, ideal for lounging poolside, is likely why Arizona ranks as one of the top states in pools per capita.
With an average of almost 300 sunny days per year, it’s not news that folks in Arizona's capital city, Phoenix, love to swim. But considering that it’s the fifth-most populous city in the country, you might get lost on your way to the pool party. So, we broke down the Phoenix ZIP codes with the highest density of homes with pools.
Read on to learn more about how pools impact home value in the Valley of the Sun, the costs of maintaining a pool, and what neighborhood to head to for the best pool-hopping.
The saying goes that you have to spend money to make money, and in a hot market, Arizona homeowners might wonder what the return on investment is for putting in a pool. The good news is that it comes down to your personal preference.
The average cost to install a pool is between $9,500 to $32,000 in Phoenix. And while our findings show that homes with a pool are generally valued higher than those without, the cost to install and maintain a pool makes the 7% return a wash.
They may not be the most lucrative investment in the long run, either. Our research shows that homes without a pool appreciated 10% more value in the last five years than those with a pool — a difference of 97% and 87% appreciation, respectively.
Related: How to buy a house in Arizona
While a pool might not be the best way to build equity in your home, the investment may be worth it to you for the lifestyle — especially on those days over 115 °F days.
Owning a pool isn’t all sunbathing and cannon balls. These features require maintenance that can come at a cost to your free time and wallet. To help us understand the realities of owning a pool in Phoenix, we spoke to Ivan Perez and Mindy Montez, who are both Phoenix natives and Orchard Home Advisors with a combined 23 years of real estate experience in the valley.
Montez is even a pool owner herself. Perez says he’s thinking about becoming a pool owner, and in the meantime, he’s benefiting from the high density of pools in the Phoenix area. He says, “My parents are pool owners, my uncles are, and so are my siblings — and they live within five minutes of us or less.”
If you’re buying a home with a pool, make sure you understand the work and price of maintaining one so that it doesn’t feel like a hidden cost.
There’s a lot to do to keep your pool crystal clean — this includes, but isn’t limited to: brushing, skimming, testing water, replacing chemicals, and maintaining plaster and filtering systems. The costs of each add up fast, and you can expect to spend anywhere between $100 to $150 per month for basic upkeep. Plus, you’ll have to tack on an additional $300 to your electricity bill and between $60 to $120 to your water bill every year.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed but still need that pool-lounging lifestyle, you may consider hiring a pool maintenance service. The price of the convenience of a service like this is higher at $150 to $200 per month.
But, Montez says you might end up preferring to do it yourself. She wasn’t satisfied with the company that she hired to take care of her pool, and while maintenance initially seemed like a chore, now it’s a part of her life:
“I know when I first got my pool, I was like, ‘Wow, this is really a burden.’ I hardly used it, but then I had get-togethers, and I just really learned how to benefit from having a pool. Now, cleaning my pool is not so much a burden because it's like a weekly chore. It's not like this extra thing I need to do. It’s just part of what I do.”
The average pool holds between 10,000 and 15,000 gallons of water. What you might not realize, though, is how much water it takes to maintain that baseline.
A pool can lose up to 2,000 gallons per month in the famous dry heat of Arizona summers. Pool owners can expect to replace most, if not all, of the water in their pool annually because of evaporation alone.
To put that number in perspective, it would take a homeowner almost 2½ years of daily showers to use the same amount of water that they will end up using to maintain the water level of their pool every year.
Both Perez and Montez recommend getting a pool inspection if you’re with a pool. This inspection takes a thorough look at the pool’s plaster, filtration system, and pumps to ensure that everything is in good working order. You can ask to include it as a part of your regular home inspection for an additional fee.
Montez also emphasizes the importance of understanding the implications of upkeep before buying a house with a pool. “I ensure that clients understand a pool is a lot of responsibility,” she says. “During the summer months if you don’t clean it once a week, it'll turn green.”
Another thing to be aware of are the safety implications of owning a pool. State and local laws dictate minimum safety features for pool owners.
Phoenix law requires that all doors and gates leading to a pool are self-closing and self-latching. Additionally, Arizona law requires households with children under the age of six to have a fence that keeps the pool enclosed. The fence must:
Homeowners insurance covers damage to your pool and may even cover injuries in a pool-related incident. But pool owners should consider getting additional liability coverage to help pay for any legal or medical expenses in the case of an accident.
Your premiums will go up, but the type of pool you have and how your insurer classifies it will determine just how much.
Depending on the type of loan you’re applying for, your mortgage lender may have additional pool safety requirements. For example, VA and FHA loans prohibit pools with diving boards.
Perez had a client that was using a VA loan. The house had a pool and diving board and the VA appraiser said, ‘You cannot have that. We're not going to close on a home with a diving board.’ So the sellers had to remove the diving board.”
Speak with your mortgage lender about any safety requirements they have for pools before the appraisal to ensure you don’t get hit with any surprises come closing.
To create this report, Orchard analyzed local tax data to determine the number of single-family homes with and without pools by ZIP code in the greater Phoenix area. We then pulled the average property value of houses with and without pools in those ZIP codes between 2020 and 2022 from the Phoenix MLS. Lastly, to understand the difference in appreciation between homes with and without pools, Orchard examined the median home price of houses with and without a pool across five years, from Q1 of 2017 and Q1 of 2022.
Trevor Patch, Manager of Data Science at Orchard, contributed to the data collection and analysis for this report.
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