In 2012, the Swimming Pool and Spa Alliance of Australia said Australia had the most swimming pools per capita in the world. In 2018, Roy Morgan research found almost 2.7 million Australians lived in a property with a pool, 13% of the population, so it’s unlikely that we’ve lost top spot since. Among the other 87% though, there’s likely to be a few of you looking enviously at your neighbour relaxing in the water, and working out whether adding a pool to your own home is achievable.

If you are considering a pool, you need to consider the time and money it will cost. If these factors are outweighed by how much you and your family will love using a pool in the summer time, perhaps it’s time to take the plunge.

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 as much as a young family would, so your own enjoyment should be the main consideration for your decision.


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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 is more designer-friendly, but comes at an increased cost.


According to Compass Pools, installation costs for fibreglass pools start at $45,000-$50,000, and can stretch to $70,000. You shouldn’t take these figures as gospel though, as the construction industry is often susceptible to inflation so prices can be volatile.

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 without 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, so you won’t have much 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, there are DIY fibreglass pool kits available for about $20,000-$25,000. This doesn’t take into account other installation costs like excavation or plumbing. DIY is a riskier strategy, and Compass recommend using a licensed builder and installer for guaranteed quality.


Compass Pools consider the starting point for a concrete pool to have a similar price point at $25,000-$30,000.

The main upside of a concrete pool is the flexibility to design it to your home and yard. There are far more design options with concrete, however that means there’s virtually no price ceiling.

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, but can usually be installed quicker and cheaper.

It’s important to remember above-ground pools aren’t permanent fixtures, and Compass Pools say many owners of these pools 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

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 have 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

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 and 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:

  • Fence panels

  • Fence posts (semi-frameless glass)

  • Channels (frameless glass)

  • Gate panels (glass)

  • Gate hinges

  • Handrails

  • Gate latch

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, it 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.

Saving money on maintenance

Pool maintenance might seem like somewhere you could cut corners and save money. However, Poolwerx CEO Nic Brill says that neglecting your pool usually just means big expenses around the corner.

“We know cost of living pressures are challenging many families right now and cancelling pool servicing appointments can save money in the short term, but pools cannot just be ‘turned off’ and regular maintenance will prevent big bills in the future.” Mr Brill said. 

There are several products worth considering that can make running your pool more cost efficient.

Pool cover

Uncovered pools can lose up to 10,000L a month through evaporation. This means losing chemicals as well as water, which need to be replaced to maintain a healthy chemistry. Using a cover can prevent 99.84% of water evaporation, according to Poolwerx. A cover or blanket also helps to retain heat, which can save on energy costs.

Solar heating

One of the most cost effective ways to heat your pool is to use solar panels. The pump circulates pool water through heated panels on the roof until the water is at the temperature you are after. On a sunny day, solar panels can produce more than four times the energy of a heat pump or gas.

Variable speed pumps

Households with a pool can expect about 18% of their energy bill to be on the pump. Poolwerx say that this is unnecessarily high because the majority of people use single speed pumps, which aren’t nearly as efficient as variable speeds. A report prepared for the Department of Environment and Energy on pool pumps found that over half of the pool owners surveyed still had a single-speed pump. The main reason many elect for the inferior product is the reduced upfront cost, but as Poolwerx point out, upfront cost of the pump is about 20% of the total expenditure, while the electricity bills over time make up the remaining 80%. They estimate that using variable speed pumps custom-programmed to your pool’s cleaning, filtration and sanitation requirements can save you more than $750 per year on your energy bills.

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 a pool in the backyard. This will ultimately come down to how much your buyer values a pool. Those who don’t care about a pool will see it as a negative due to the time and money that maintaining a pool can cost, while for other prospective buyers, it might be the defining feature of the property that entices them to put in an offer. Here’s what else affects how a pool might influence 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).”

This article was initially published by Aaron Bell in 2019 and updated by Harry O'Sullivan in 2023.

Image by Mia Anderson via Unsplash

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