Dreaming of a backyard oasis with a sparkling inground pool? You’re not alone. According to IBIS World, Market Data Forecast, the swimming pool market in the United States was $9.6 billion dollars in 2022. Backyard swimming pools are among the most common wish-list items for homeowners looking to turn their backyard into a at-home escape. However, the cost of turning this dream into reality can vary significantly depending on your location.
The price of building a swimming pool in Southern California will not be the same as that of pool construction somewhere like Chicago. This in mind, let’s take a look at some of the factors influencing the cost of building an inground pool, and take a look at what the same job might cost in different areas of the country.
Factors Affecting Inground Pool Costs:
Labor Costs / Cost of Living
Labor costs and general cost of living play a crucial role in determining the overall expense of building an inground pool in your area. Different regions have varying labor rates due to factors such as demand, supply chain differences, state economics, and local regulations. Take for example California and Illinois. CA has a higher cost of living, which includes higher wages for skilled labor, which directly impacts the labor costs associated with pool construction. Construction workers in California may demand higher pay to meet the higher living expenses in the state. Couple this with the general high demand for assets such as pools in sunny southern CA, and you’ve got a recipe for comparatively high prices.
As mentioned, local regulations have a big impact on costs. Areas with strict environmental regulations throw on-paper construction processes through a loop. Like many other larger scale home renovations, pool construction must adhere to the local regulations, which may involve additional steps and requirements to ensure the project’s environmental sustainability. Ensuring your home’s compliance with these regulations can increase both time and cost.
Materials and Design
It’s common sense that choice of materials and the complexity of the pool design contribute significantly to the overall cost. High-end materials and intricate designs will naturally increase expenses. However, regionality also plays a part in differing price tags around the county. Not all materials such as stone, tiles, and different kinds of pavers are readily available in all areas. In some regions, getting the exact materials you’re looking for could cost you an arm and a leg due to transportation and availability, or kinks in the supply chain. The further a material has to travel to reach your backyard, the more expensive your final bill will be.
Permitting and Regulations
Beyond environmental concerns, local building codes, permits, and regulations also impact the cost of pool construction from state to state. Some areas may have stringent requirements that could necessitate additional expenses for permits and compliance. The same permits can cost different amounts depending on where you are from. And while this is frustrating, no respectable designer or contractor will green light a pool without making your permits are in order–no matter how pricey.
Inground Pool Costs Across the U.S.:
Let’s take a look at some varying costs for inground pools across the greater US.
Known for its year-round sunny weather, Southern California is a popular region for pool construction. In fact, it has the second highest number of backyard pools in the country. Unsurprisingly, the cost of building an inground pool here tends to be on the higher side. With a high demand for skilled labor, strict environmental regulations, and a preference for modern, luxury designs, the average cost can range from $50,000 to $100,000 or more. Custom pools often start at $100,000.
Let’s talk about another hot, sunny state. Texas, with its expansive landscapes and sweltering summers, commands a growing demand for backyard pools. Lucky for its residents, the state generally experiences moderate pool construction costs, at least in comparison to a higher cost of living state such as California. Austin, being a hub of cultural and outdoor activities, is a good reference point. The average cost for building an inground pool in Austin ranges from $30,000 to $70,000. This comparative affordability is influenced by a relatively lower cost of living and a generally favorable climate for construction.
Moving out of the southern United State, lets talk about the Midwest. Chicago, Illinois, the largest city in the region, experiences a diverse climate with cold winters. This makes inground pool construction less popular for homeowners. However, it can also impact pool construction costs due to the need for additional measures like winterization. Still, with a lower cost of living, and smaller demand, the average cost in Chicago is approximately $40,000 to $80,000. The seasonal considerations and moderate demand for pools contribute to the overall expenses.
Finally, let’s look at the East Coast. Richmond, Virginia, situated in the Mid-Atlantic region, enjoys a milder climate compared to some northern counterparts. This climate allows for a more extended pool season and a higher customer demand compared to colder climates. The average cost of building an inground pool in Richmond typically ranges from $50,000 to $75,000. Custom designs may become more expensive from there. Factors such as moderate labor costs and fewer environmental restrictions contribute to the affordability.
How much will a pool cost to build? It depends.
The swimming pool industry is a growing market, and continues to command billions of dollars each year. That said, the overall money spent to get your dream inground swimming pool varies across different regions of the country. Labor costs, materials, design complexity, climate, and local regulations all play a role in determining the overall expense. Understanding these regional differences can help homeowners make informed decisions when planning their dream pool. Whether you’re in sunny Southern California, Chicago, or Richmond, VA, the cost of building your backyard oasis is a reflection of the unique factors influencing construction in your area.