In New England, autumn marks the onset of sweater weather. But at this New Hampshire home, swimsuit season lasts all year long.
Several years ago, Jill Dye and her husband purchased a home in Plaistow, N.H., that came with an indoor pool. Measuring 16 feet by 38 feet, the pool is located in a climate-controlled room with wood-clad walls and cathedral ceilings. Being enclosed and under a roof eliminates the need to clear leaves or other natural debris from the water. So there’s less skimming and more swimming.
The biggest advantage, Dye said, is being able to use the pool year-round. “It’s just a novelty. You get in a big snowstorm, and you’re by a pool in eighty-degree weather,” she said. It has its advantages in the summertime, too. This year was particularly muggy and buggy, Dye noted, and some of the nearby lakes were closed because of bacterial contamination.
Her advice to anyone considering buying a home with an indoor pool: “Absolutely, do it.”
Currently, about one-fourth of all single-family homes and condos listed for sale in Greater Boston between 2019 and July 2022 included a swimming pool, according to analysis by Realtor.com. But only a handful of those pools are indoors or in buildings that offer one as an amenity.
When they do come on the market, homes with indoor pools are typically more difficult to sell, said Deb Forte, a real estate agent with Century 21 North East. “An indoor pool is scary for some people. They don’t know what it would take to take care of it. You really have to be somebody who’s looking for one. It’s probably not for a first-time [home] buyer.”
Forte knows what it’s like to have an indoor pool: She and her husband sold their home to the Dyes when they moved from Plaistow to Windham, N.H. Still, Forte said the family left with many happy memories. She and her friends would do yoga and water aerobics in the pool throughout the winter. Birthday parties for her children were particularly memorable. “One was in March. The kids would be making snow angels outside then run in and jump right into the pool,” Forte said.
Single-family homes with indoor and outdoor swimming pools in metro Boston tend to be priced 13 percent higher than similarly located, similarly sized homes without pools, Realtor.com has indicated. Condo developments that include a swimming pool tend to be priced 2.1 percent higher than similar developments without them.
Pool properties also take longer to sell. Boston-area single-family homes with pools spend about 3.6 percent longer on the market, and condos with them spend about 6 percent longer on the market than similar listings. (What’s unknown is the impact the swimming pool or price premium had on the potential buyers’ decision-making.)
Currently on the market is a six-bedroom home with an indoor pool at 51 Scotch Pine Road in Wellesley. Listed for $14,000,000, the home sits on roughly 1.5 acres and also includes a high-end kitchen, gym, home theater, bar, and wine cellar. The owners, who declined to be named, and their three young children use the pool extensively, said the listing agent, Jill Boudreau of Compass in Wellesley.
“They’re THE house that all the kids want to have the sleepovers at and parties at,” Boudreau said. The couple — he’s in finance and she’s involved in philanthropy — also use the pool space for entertaining and hosting charitable events.
The home’s layout is ideal for both casual and formal events. The wet bar has a Sub-Zero beverage refrigerator, and a changing room features a full bathroom and washer/dryer. Accordion-style doors open the space to the outside. “It’s an indoor pool with an outdoor vibe,” Boudreau said. An automated, retractable cover helps the heated pool retain its warmth.
The pool room has separate climate and humidity controls, so there are no issues with mold, Boudreau added. Technicians have an exterior access door that allows them to service the mechanical components and UV light-filtration system from the outside.
The biggest risks of having an indoor pool are water damage and mold, said Andy Everleigh, owner of Environmental Pools, based in Chelmsford. Correct engineering and structural details are key to a safe, low-maintenance environment. With his indoor-pool projects, the water is typically treated with ultraviolet light and a small amount of chlorine. Saltwater pools aren’t practical for indoor use because of the corrosiveness of salt and its impact on an HVAC system, Everleigh added.
Homeowners who want to build a standard-sized indoor pool should expect to pay about $150,000, which includes the cost of an automated pool cover, Everleigh estimated. That’s on top of the money spent to build the actual structure that houses the pool. Many of his customers also pay to have the service department regularly test the water quality and clarity.
Anyone interested in buying or building a home with an indoor pool also should consider the cost of heating the water. The Fortes’ pool in Plaistow was heated with a wood stove that consumed six to eight cords of firewood per year. The Dyes converted the pool to oil heat, which can be costly. Covering the pool when it’s not in use can reduce heating costs by up to 70 percent, Everleigh said.
Indoor-pool projects make up about 5 percent to 10 percent of his company’s business, Everleigh said, but interest has grown significantly since the onset of the pandemic. With the shift toward working remotely, more people are inquiring about indoor swimming pools, as well as smaller pools with jets that allow people to swim against the current.
“A lot of professionals are now working from home,” Everleigh said, and there’s “a big craze in the fitness realm.” He predicts taking on more projects that allow for year-round swimming.
“People like using the pool at home between conference calls.”
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