While in many regions throughout the world, private pools are associated with the middle class, until recently, pools in Israel have been considered a luxury item reserved for the extremely wealthy, or the millionaires.
In the past, pools in Israel were found mostly in upscale towns, such as Herzliya Pituach, Savyon, and Caesarea. The main reason for this is that the majority of Israel’s middle-class population is concentrated in the country’s largest central cities, which are densely populated. Smaller cities in the outlying areas of northern and southern Israel are more sparsely populated and relatively spread out.
More swimming pools being built in Ra’anana, Modi’in and Gedera
Nonetheless, according to Sharon Binovitch, CEO and owner of the G.S.B Group a leading developer of public and private pools, this trend has been changing in recent years. “The notion that swimming pools are only for millionaires has been outdated for years,” Binovitch explains. “Nowadays, many upper-middle-class families are having pools built in their yards or homes. A number of families in Beer Sheva and on a few moshavim, for example, have built pools.” Binovitch also points out that more and more families living in middle-class cities like Ra’anana, Modi’in, and Gedera, are also building pools at home.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, there has been an upward trend in building private pools in Israel as people look to exercise and spend more time in their homes. According to real estate appraiser Ohad Dannus, former chairman of the Real Estate Appraisers Association, the COVID-19 epidemic has led to a massive increase in the popularity of private pools “as people feel much safer at home, and so families that can afford to construct a private pool at home are doing so.”
A year to receive a building permit for a private pool in Israel
Binovitch’s company specializes in luxury pools, and he says that most of his private clients are foreign residents with second homes in Israel, mainly in Jerusalem. A large proportion of the pools he constructs are either on rooftops or in people’s basements.
The standard size of most private pools that are built in Israel is seven or eight meters long by three meters wide. Costs vary greatly, depending on the quality of the pool. The cost for plastic or fiberglass ready-made pools that are inserted into a pit that was dug in the yard, can cost anywhere between NIS 60,000 to NIS 100,000. These types of pools can be installed in up to ten working days.
Concrete pools that are custom-built on-site, with mosaic or tile coatings, are more expensive, ranging in price from NIS 200,000 to NIS 300,000, and construction can take up to two months. Most of these pools are equipped with more advanced features, such as night lighting. One of the most popular types of pool nowadays are those made of stainless steel, since they are extremely lightweight, flexible, and soft. This makes them a great choice for pools located on the upper floors of buildings. Prices for stainless steel pools in Israel begin around NIS 500,000. In addition, they are the ideal choice for pools with a hydraulic floor mechanism that turns the pool area into a regular surface when desired. This function does, however, add an additional few hundred thousand shekels to the price.
According to Binovitch, the installation of all types of pools requires that homeowners receive building permits. “Even the simplest type of pool, that you just “drop” down in your yard, requires a permit. The average amount of time required to receive a permit is twelve months, and in rare cases, this can sometimes take up to two years.” Binovitch estimates that monthly pool maintenance costs, including weekly visits by a ‘pool guy’, disinfectants, electricity, and water, come to about NIS 1,000. And if you’d like your pool to be heated, then you’ll need to add another NIS 1,500 on top of that for electricity.
Private pool can add up to 15% of value to the property
Up until now, we’ve discussed the costs involved in building and maintaining private pools in Israel. You might also be interested to know, that private pools can also potentially increase the value of your home. According to Dannus, “In, Israel, people feel like owning a property with a swimming pool gives them a higher status, since pools are still considered a luxury item. Even among upper middle-class Israelis, having a pool is still nowhere near standard. As a result, a property with a pool is attributed a much higher value.”
Dannus claims that having a private pool can add between 5% – 15% to the value of a property in Israel. “More than just adding monetary value, having a pool adds a ‘wow effect’ to average-size houses situated on a plot of one-third of a dunam, a common size in Israel. The more luxurious and larger property is, however, the lower the importance a pool plays in the value of the asset.” Dannus believes that installing indoor pools on rooftops only adds about 5% to a property’s value. “These pools might be really expensive, but so are the properties in which they’re being installed.”