MARICOPA -- Area pool builders say the past year has had record-breaking demand for new pool construction and backyard improvements and they expect the trend to continue.

“Demand is very high right now,” said Dino Clark of Maricopa Pool and Landscape Design. “There has been so much demand for new pools that I’m even getting calls from other pool builders.”

A house with a pool tends to sell faster than one that doesn’t have one, said real estate agent Dayv Morgan.

On average, a house with a pool is on the market for about a week, he said.

“Homes with a pool are easier to sell,” he said. “Right now, Maricopa has only six homes with a pool currently on the market and five of them have been listed for less than a week.”

Homes with basic pools tend to be a good investment for homeowners, he said.

“A pool adds value to a home,” he said. “Up to about $35,000, there’s a dollar for dollar return on the investment. But once you go over $35,000 and start adding things like spas, slides or diving pools, the return on the investment goes down.”

Orlando Enriquez of EPTA Construction, which builds pools and homes, said the past year has been a record-breaking year for his company in terms of demand.

“We have been so busy,” he said. “And it’s not just pools. We’ve had calls for people wanting to install outdoor kitchens and other features as well as pools. We’ve also had calls from people wanting to upgrade their pools.”

The trend in Maricopa, he said, is higher-end pools with travertine finishes and water features.

“I’ve definitely seen an increase in people wanting more than a basic pool,” he said. “People are upgrading and adding high-end finishes.”

Clark said he’s also seen an increase in people asking for upgraded features.

“People are asking for things like in-floor cleaning systems, water features and automation,” he said.

Industry experts believe that more people moving to Maricopa combined with COVID-19 are driving the demand for pools and upgraded backyards.

“I talk to people who are expecting to be locked up in their homes for about two years while we wait out COVID,” Clark said.

In Maricopa, pools are a good value compared with other communities, he said.

“People don’t balk at spending $50,000 on a pool in Maricopa because the same pool would be $100,000 in California or Texas,” he said.

While demand is rising, costs are higher too. The average cost of putting a pool in a Maricopa backyard has increased by 10 to 15% since last year, Clark said.

High demand, material shortages and labor shortages mean longer build-times, experts say.

While last year construction time was about two to three months to install a new pool, Enriquez now tell clients to think ahead six months.

“If you want a pool by fall, now’s the time to start planning,” he said.

Clark also had the same advice.

“If you’re waiting for prices to get cheaper, don’t wait. The cost to install a pool isn’t going to get any cheaper,” Clark said. “Especially now that we’re seeing shortages of cement and travertine. People need to think long-term.”

Morgan’s advice to those considering installing a pool or buying a home with a pool is to be aware of the pros and cons of owning one.

“People should be aware of the cost of maintaining a pool,” he said. “Maricopa has higher utility costs than other communities. Between maintenance and increased utility costs, people should budget about $150 a month to maintain a pool. Those costs go up if heat and other features are added. But a basic pool is a good investment, especially if you plan to be in your house for a while.”

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.