There’s no doubt Aussies love a swim in summer. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a pool already, you may be interested in how much a pool would cost to install.
Research from Roy Morgan in 2018 shows nearly 2.7 million Australians live in a house with a swimming pool. That said, disregarding apartment complex pools with Band-aids at the bottom, that leaves a fair chunk of the 26 million-odd population without one. And there’s a fair bet a sizeable portion are deciding on the cost-benefit analysis of installing a pool.
In-ground swimming pool
The most popular pool type is an in-ground swimming pool. In-ground pools can be fibreglass, concrete or vinyl. Fibreglass pools are generally cheaper to install but offer little flexibility in design, while concrete are more designer-friendly, but come at an increased cost.
According to Compass Pools, fibreglass pools, with installation start at $25,000. However take this figure with a grain of salt – pardon the pun.
The fibreglass shell is usually installed into an excavated hole in the ground. This makes access to the area you want your pool installed paramount and any issues with access through or around your home can quickly send the price skyrocketing.
Backyards that don’t have access for materials and equipment might mean you have to hire a crane to drop the pool over the home into the yard. Additionally, once you start digging into your yard, you may find that the area you wanted to put the pool has rock, tree roots or even pipes for irrigation. These factors will quickly determine where you can put the pool and the size of the pool itself.
Fibreglass pools generally come in pre-set shapes and sizes, meaning you have little flexibility on the design, size and look of the pool. The quality of the fibreglass shell will also influence the price, because at the end of the day fibreglass can still crack and deteriorate, making quality installation important.
According to Compass Pools, an expensive fibreglass pool including installation can cost $50,000 or more depending on these factors.
Compass Pools consider the starting point for a concrete pool to be at a similar price point at $25,000-$30,000, with the top end of the market products having next to no price ceiling.
The main upside of a concrete pool is the flexibility to design it to your home and yard. The options are far more limited with fibreglass, however that also means placing a maximum price point for concrete swimming pools is difficult to pinpoint.
The size of the pool, access to the yard, and quality of the soil will all influence the labour and installation costs.
Above-ground swimming pool
Although a much cheaper option, above-ground swimming pools typically have a shorter lifespan, however can usually be installed quicker and cheaper.
It’s important to remember these are usually not a permanent option, and according to Compass Pools many above ground pool owners end up installing in-ground pools in the future.
Cheap options can be bought from Bunnings or Kmart for as little as $50. Pool stores also offer cheap options from $2,000 for inflatable or portable options. For long-term above ground pools, you may consider vinyl or modular pools.
Vinyl pools are a more permanent (but still affordable) option. Compass Pools estimates the starting cost of above ground vinyl pools at $10,000. The lining of these pools has an estimated lifespan of six to ten years, however are less durable and more easily damaged than fibreglass or concrete options.
Each time a vinyl pool is damaged it may need to be completely replaced. These pools are best viewed as a discount version of a traditional pool, but by installing it above-ground, it can save you thousands on labour and installation costs.
Modular pools provide a more permanent option without excavating your backyard. They are pre-made and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. According to Compass Pools, they can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 or more, and are often designed to be ‘plug and play’, meaning that installation is usually pretty quick.
These types of pools can be great in a yard with a natural slope or hill, helping you avoid excavating or levelling your yard. The overall cost depends on your style choices, the material. Modular pools have a longer life and generally require less upkeep than an above-ground vinyl pool.
Ongoing costs of pools
Regulations in Australia are strict around pool safety, and for good reason. Once your pool is in, you will still need to fence the pool area which can add another big blow to your bank account depending on material and style.
All states and territories except Queensland follow the Australian Standard AS1926.1 – Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools. Make sure you understand the height, and specifications for your state when planning your pool installation.
HiPages estimates pool fencing to cost anywhere from $200 per linear metre for timber fencing, to $600 per linear metre for a high end frameless glass fence. HiPages also said to expect the following to be expenses included with any pool fencing quote:
Expect to be quoted in the region of:
$200 to $350 per linear metre for a treated pine timber slat fence
$450 to $600 per linear metre for a wrought iron fence
$200 to $275 per linear metre for semi-frameless glass pool fencing
$275 to $600 per linear metre for a frameless glass fence
The average pool in Australia is 9m long and 4m wide according to Barrier Reef Pools. So for a glass fence to encompass this pool, with space between the pool and the fence, could cost up to $5,000. Other materials can be cheaper to install, but will still add costs to your overall installation.
Fibreglass pools tend to have the lowest ongoing costs. Once your fibreglass pool is in the ground, you will most likely get a servicer out to polish the surface above the waterline. But you likely won’t need to worry about re-painting or having a build up of bacteria.
Concrete pools require more chemicals to prevent bacteria build up. The surface itself is also more likely to lose its water-tight seal and may require servicing more regularly. Above-ground pools with vinyl lining also require more servicing and upkeep than fibreglass. Compass Pools estimates a 10 year life-span before needing a complete re-lining of the shell.
It’s also important to remember pool cleaning equipment including chemicals can be expensive. You need to consider the ongoing costs of pool cleaning equipment like a creepy-crawly, pool heaters, filter, and chemicals such as chlorine or salt water infusers. Additionally, consider any chemicals or equipment to clean the area around the pool like a deck, pavement or other surfaces.
Does a pool add value to your property?
When selling your home down the track, you may hope to bump up the asking price with the addition of a backyard pool. This will ultimately come down to a few factors, but most importantly, any buyers’ personal value placed on a pool.
Be warned that those who don’t value a pool will see it as a negative due to the time and money that maintaining a pool can cost. For other prospective buyers, it can be the defining feature of the property that entices them to put in an offer. Here’s what influences the value:
First and foremost the value of a pool is driven by the climate. Those living in the northern parts of the country are able to use a pool almost all year round depending on one’s sensitivity to cold, meaning the hot weather will likely make a pool an attractive feature for buyers.
According to data from Roy Morgan, 19% of Perth residents, 18% of Brisbane residents and 15% of Sydney residents now have a swimming pool at home. These figures are important as these are the areas that prospective buyers value and prioritise a pool. If you live in the southern parts of the country, a pool may not add as much value or appeal to your home.
Beachside equals poolside
Waterside living is a strong drawcard for many prospective buyers. Those willing to pay extra for a slice of paradise near the beach could be more likely to see value in a pool as well.
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said owning a pool is extremely popular in cities on the water.
“Not surprisingly it is Australians in warmer climates who are more likely to have a swimming pool than those further south,” Ms Levine said.
“Regional Queensland which includes the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and a string of sizeable regional cities up the coast including Mackay, Townsville and Cairns tops the nation with 20% now owning a swimming pool.”
Poolside family BBQs
In addition to climate, and location the demographics of your property’s suburb will also impact the value a pool adds to your home.
If your house is located in a suburb close to schools and public transport in a safe suburb, you might end up selling your home to a family. Data from Roy Morgan shows families with children in Australia value a pool.
“Besides a warmer climate there are other factors that determine whether someone will own a swimming pool and these include socio-economic factors and also the presence of children in the house,” Ms Levine said.
“Over 17% of Australians with kids aged six to 11 have a pool at home (up 2% on four years ago), a figure that jumps to just over 23% (up 3%) for homes with older children (12-15 years).”
Savings two cents
If you are considering adding a pool to your home, you need to consider the time and money it will cost. If these factors are outweighed by how much you or your family will love using a pool in the summer time, then go for it.
Be wary of adding a pool just to add value to your home before selling, as not every buyer sees a pool as a great part of a home. Busy professionals might not value a pool like a young family, so consider if you are installing a pool, you are doing it for your own enjoyment first.
Image by Mia Anderson via Unsplash