• Arizonan cities are a veritable paradise for pool lovers, with seven of them ranking among the top 20 best cities for pools.
  • Scottsdale, AZ, and Irvine, CA, have the most homes on the market featuring a pool – 70%.
  • Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio, are the cities with the highest access to public pools among the country’s top 100 biggest cities.
  • Detroit is the least pool-friendly city in the nation.
  • With median price tags hovering around $1.5M, Scottsdale, Arizona, is the most expensive city for buying a home with a pool.

Swimming pools are a coveted amenity for many Americans and the range available is wide and varied – there are about 10.4 million residential pools in the US and almost 310K public ones. Pools are getting even more traction lately, with the pool construction industry estimated at $10 billion in 2022 having exhibited an annual growth rate of 2.4% since 2017.

No longer a status symbol but an increasingly common convenience for many, whether homeowners or renters, pools provide people with the perfect opportunity to spend time with family and friends, have fun, and exercise. What would summers be without at least one pool party, after all? Plus, swimming has tremendous physical and mental benefits, and having the opportunity to practice it regularly is priceless.

Naturally, the popularity of pools varies throughout the country, with the amenity being more common in warmer climates, where people can use them throughout most of the year, if not year-round. But where exactly can pool lovers find the best environment to indulge in their favorite pastime?

StorageCafe analyzed the country’s 100 biggest cities to identify the best places for Americans with a penchant for pools. We’ve used a combined index to measure the “pool access” potential for each city by looking at for-sale and for-rent listings and ranking the share of houses for sale and apartments for rent with access to pools, the costs of buying or renting a home with a pool, as well as the number of public pools per capita. We’ve also factored in self storage services, as pool afficionados have plenty of items to store, including pool lounge chairs, air mattresses and water toys, pool maintenance devices and outdoor furniture.

As it turns out, Arizona trumps both California and Florida in terms of offering easy access to pool fun. Most apartment communities in Arizona come with resort-style pools and most homes for sale have a pool – giving residents an excellent opportunity to cool down in the Valley of the Sun.

Interestingly enough, renting an apartment with a pool is now more convenient than ever, without adding on costs. Overall, across the 100 cities analyzed, rent rates are virtually the same for an apartment with pool access versus a unit without one.

Things change when looking at the for-sale market. Homeowners do have to dig a little deeper in their pockets if they want to enjoy a nice watery retreat in their backyard: homes with swimming pools are, on median, 9% more expensive than those without one, and the difference can spike, depending on location. Also, homeowners need to consider pool maintenance costs, plus electricity and water consumption, which can bring on extra spending of up to $5,000 per year.

Let’s see where you have the best chances of enjoying a pool-enhanced lifestyle among the biggest 100 US cities:

Desert cities get the most pool-related fun, with Arizona scoring seven spots among the top 20 best cities for pool lovers

With many months of sunny, warm and dry weather, desert cities got serious about building pools. Chandler, Arizona, ranks first in the state and across the US for pool lovers. About 99% of the apartment units in the city offer access to pools and there’s no extra cost associated with residing in a pool-enhanced community. Also, about 60% of the single family homes and condos for sale in Chandler come with a pool, and the price difference between the two types of abode stands at a negligible 2%. On top of that, there are 2.3 public pools per 100K residents here, so, regardless of where you live, you can still enjoy a nice swim. And don’t worry about storing your pool lounge chair, or other pool accessories: a 10x10 self storage unit in Chandler, Arizona, rents for about $142 per month – not much above the national self storage average.

Many other Arizonan cities make it to the top: Gilbert ranks fourth, and, like Chandler, almost all the apartments in the city have access to pools. Also, about half of the homes or condos for sale in Gilbert feature pools. A home with a pool in Gilbert is approx. 9% more expensive than one without a pool.

Mesa and Scottsdale rank 6th and 7th respectively. Scottsdale has the highest proportion of homes and condos for sale with pools among the top 100 cities, 70%, but all this water fun potential comes with a lofty price tag. Scottsdale homes with pools are 16% more expensive than those without pools.

Homes with pools in Scottsdale, Arizona

Tucson, Glendale and Phoenix also landed in the top 20 of best cities for pool lovers. However, Phoenix registers the largest price difference in Arizona between listings that feature the amenity and listings that don’t, with the former having 28% higher price tags.

Henderson, NV, joins the Arizonan cities in offering an excellent environment for pools, ranking second in the nation for water fun lovers. About 98% of local rental apartments offer splashing opportunities, and 43% of the for-sale listings include a pool. Homebuyers will need to stretch their dollar further, though, as the properties for sale that also have a pool are 25% more expensive than those without one.

Although Aurora, Colorado, is not technically a desert city, it’s still located in a region with plenty of sunny days, making pools a fun and valuable asset and pushing the city to 10th position. About 86% of the apartments in Aurora offer access to pools, and 18% of the properties listed for sale have a backyard oasis. And for those who love swimming but lack a swimming pool at home, Aurora doesn’t disappoint. It is in fact the best city for public pools among the top 20 cities in this ranking, and one of the best among the country’s 100 biggest cities, with 5.1 pools per 100K people.

The second Coloradan city among the top 20 best ones for pool lovers is Denver, which lands on the 18th spot. Roughly 20% of the Denver homes for sale include pools among the amenities they provide.

Florida doesn’t disappoint water lovers – plenty of pools, besides its beaches

A true paradise for water sports and water-related activities, Florida also delivers when it comes to pools, with three cities among the top 20 hotspots. Orlando ranks third in the nation, with 94% of its rentals featuring pools, and 46% of the homes and condos for sale having pools as an amenity. Living in a home that offers access to a pool is not financially taxing, at least not upfront: the rents are virtually the same, while listing prices are just 2% higher for properties with pools. Orlando also enjoys almost four public pools per 100K residents.

St. Petersburg, Florida, ranking fifth, features a significant price difference between listings with pools and those without – approx. 19%. Tampa, Florida, ranking 15th, also offers a good range of homes with pools, but it will cost you: there’s a 25% difference between the two types of homes.

Arlington, Virginia, lands 16th spot in the country for pool lovers, with 74% of its rental apartments having pool access and about 34% of the local listings including a pool among the set of amenities offered.

Irvine, California, excels at listings with pools

Irvine is the highest ranked Californian city, in the 9th spot, with 97% of the local apartments having pools in their communities. Irvine also tops the charts for listings with pools, alongside Scottsdale, Arizona – about 70% of the local homes listed for sale include a pool.

The city is also the fifth most expensive nationally for homes with pools, which are listed at a median of $1.28M. However, this hefty price tag comes with certain perks – you might end up rubbing elbows with the likes of Will Ferrell, who was born in and currently resides in Irvine (in a house with a pool, obviously). One category where Irvine is losing ground is public pool access, with the city featuring only 0.7 pools per 100K residents.

Riverside, CA, and Anaheim, CA, are ranked 12th and 14th. While listings with pools in Riverside are 9% more expensive than those without one, the city compensates with 2.1 pools per 100K residents, more than the other two Californian cities in top 20.

Plano, crowned the best city in Texas for pool lovers

Texas enters the best cities for pool lovers, with Plano in the 8th position. Nearly all apartments in Plano ensure that their residents can have a relaxing daily swim, to keep the Texan summer heat at bay. A third of the homes and condos listed for sale in Plano also have the amenity – but future owners do need to pay 10% more, for such a property.

In Austin, which ranks 13th, roughly a third of the listings feature a pool – however, these properties are 28% more expensive than those lacking the amenity. Irving, TX, ranking 17th, showcases a good combo of pool facilities across the board, with 95% of the apartments and 22% of the for-sale listings displaying pool access.

Scottsdale is the most expensive city for homes with pools, while Cleveland is the most affordable

Among the 100 cities analyzed, the affluent Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale has the most expensive homes with pools for sale on the market, averaging approx. $1.5 million. Los Angeles and New York City rank second and third for the priciest homes with pools with asking prices just under $1.5M in both locations.

The city where it’s the most convenient to purchase a home with a pool attached, from the price tag perspective, is Cleveland, Ohio. Here, a home with a pool is around a tenth of the price of one in Scottsdale, at $160K. Other affordable cities for Americans dreaming about owning a pool are St. Paul, Minnesota, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio, are the country’s best cities for public pools

In cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati, residential pools are not a very common feature, primarily due to practical, weather-related reasons. It makes less sense for homeowners in the Midwest to maintain a pool that they can only enjoy for three or four months per year. However, these cities compensate by offering their residents easy access to public pools during summer: there are over 10 pools per 100K residents in Cleveland, and 8.3 in Cincinnati. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, ranks third, with 6.3 pools per 100K residents.

Detroit is the least appealing city for pool lovers

At the other end of the spectrum, Detroit is the country’s least pool-friendly city. Only 24% of the rental apartments feature pools, and those apartments are 10% more expensive. Very few homes listed for sale, about 5%, include a pool – and they are 190% more expensive than the rest of the homes. The city also has few public pools – merely 1.2 pools per 100K residents. Other cities that make things challenging for pool lovers are New York City, NY, Louisville, KY, Memphis, TN, and Baltimore, MD.

Check out the complete list of the 100 best U.S. cities for pool lovers here:

Methodology

This analysis was done by StorageCafe, an online platform that provides storage unit listings across the U.S.

The data related to home prices and pool availability was taken from Zillow and Point2 Homes. The data related to apartment rents and pool availability in multifamily communities was taken from Yardi Matrix, along with self storage data.

The public pools data was gathered from official, municipal sources for each city.

The overall ranking was calculated as a weighted average of individual rankings including:

  • Share of multifamily units with pool access out of all multifamily units – 20%
  • Rent difference between multifamily units with access to pools vs. those without pool access – 15%
  • Share of houses and condos for sale with pools out of all listings inventory – 20%
  • Price difference between homes for sale with pools vs. homes for sale without pools – 15%
  • Number of public pools per 100K residents – 20%
  • Self Storage Score, a composite score between self storage inventory per capita and self storage rent – 10%

The data was extracted in May 2022.

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Author

Maria Gatea is a creative writer for StorageCafe and RentCafe with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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