Swimming pool still adds value to French property despite droughts

An increased selling price might look attractive but do not forget running costs, increased taxes and water bans

In-ground pools, as opposed to those that sit on the surface, add at least 5% to a property in the south

Swimming pools continue to be a sound investment, despite their installation being banned in some parts of France due to water shortages.

A 2021 survey found pools can add up to 20% to the value of a property, and the pool builders’ federation, the FPP, believes this still holds true.

“Everything we hear points to built-in swimming pools adding value,” a spokeswoman told The Connexion.

“Hot summers like last year are the best advertising we can have.”

Add 5% to property price in south

Using data from across France, the survey by price estimation firm Meilleurs Agents discovered in-ground pools, as opposed to those that sit on the surface, add at least 5% to a property when sale prices are compared to houses without.

The added value of swimming pools is not the same in all areas. They add more when properties are situated in communes with beaches, especially in the south of the country.

Pools in inland, northern areas do not make such a difference to value.

A leading swimming pool firm, Desjoyaux, points out that most pools, unless specially designed for swimming lengths, are small.

On average, the pools it installs are eight metres by four metres, with a single depth of 1.3 metres.

Ban on new pools to save water

Pools have recently entered into the debate over use of water in France.

Last year’s summer drought followed by a dry winter saw the Var department announce a ban on the building of new pools in March.

They have been banned, too, in the town of Gérardmer in Vosges where the municipal borehole ran dry last year and water had to be brought in by tanker.

In Pyrénées-Orientales, the mayor of Elne is also banning any new pools for at least two months from the start of May.

All these areas were put on ‘yellow’ drought warnings in March, meaning restrictions were placed on certain activities, such as watering gardens.

Read more: France drought rules: Do they stop me topping up my swimming pool?

Consider taxes and running costs

The added value of swimming pools is balanced by the cost of installing pools – anything from €15,000 to €50,000, according to the 2021 survey.

You should also factor in the cost of running the pool, which FPP says is usually €40 to €60 a month, and higher taxe foncière bills.

The latter rises by an average of 5% to 10% for houses with swimming pools.

There is also the one-off taxe d’aménagement on built-in pools, which varies from commune to commune but is usually in the €600-€1,000 range.

Read more: Swimming pools, sheds: Tax due on installation is rising in France

Boom due to Covid and hot weather

France has more than three million in-ground and above-ground pools, roughly equating to one for every 21 people.

These figures make it the second largest market in the world behind the US.

In 2020 and 2021 alone, new in-ground installations numbered 70,000 and 86,000 respectively, according to data from the Fédération des professionnels de la piscine (FPP).

The boom was attributed to favourable weather and the ‘booster’ effect of Covid-19 keeping people at home.

However, as things return to ‘normal’, the demand for private pools shows no sign of abating.

According to the latest FPP/Décryptis survey, 230,000 in-ground pools will be built at home before the end of 2024.

Pools have gotten significantly cheaper over the years, which is helping to drive this trend.

The average price is currently €24,000, but above-ground pools can be bought for less than €10,000.

Global warming is also playing a part.

As France warms up, pools are no longer the preserve of the traditionally warmer departments to the south but are spreading further north.

However, climate experts warn that pools are exacerbating the problem.

Heating can leave a significant carbon footprint, while filling them puts pressure on increasingly stretched water resources.

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