Beating the Heat: Where Renters Pay More for Pools

This summer, renters across the country have had to deal with hot temperatures and even hotter rental markets. Although the upward swing in rental prices shows no signs of waning, renters can still find ways to beat the heat without breaking the bank. An analysis of rental listings from HotPads shows that renters in the 50 biggest U.S. metro areas pay an average of just $70, or 4.7%, more a month to get into a home with a pool.

Many markets command a pool premium well above $100 a month, and the three with the highest premiums are Las Vegas, Oklahoma City and Tampa, with premiums of $174, $170, and $165 respectively. These markets face some of the hottest temperatures in the country, with summer average highs of at least 90 degrees, but the thermometer is not the only factor that can drive how pools are valued.

Rentals with a pool are associated with a discount in a few rental markets. In Denver, listings with pools typically cost $71 less than their swim-less counterparts, while renters in San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., see more moderate discounts of $24 and $3, respectively. A low premium in San Francisco may be easy to write off as a result of the area’s famously temperate climate – average highs in the summer never make it out of the 60s –  but the fact that renters there and in the other two metros see discounts is indicative of other factors.

More likely than pools alone driving up or down the values of rentals, the presence of a pool could be associated with other features not captured by looking at a home’s size, location and age. For example, homes with pools could include – in Las Vegas, Oklahoma City and Tampa —  appliances and finishes that renters prefer, and the opposite could be true in Denver, San Francisco and San Jose.

Cultural tastes also could play a role.  Renters in Phoenix, for example, where the pool premium is $28 (1.8%), may have a higher demand for pools thanks to a tradition of pool parties as a way to cool off, socialize, and stay outside. Contrast that to Denver, where rentals with pools actually cost $71 (3.3%) more, it is possible people would rather save space in their yard for other activities while they exercise by hiking to an alpine lake and meet friends down by a river.

And pools are just one amenity for which renters will sometimes pay up: A previous HotPads analysis found that U.S. renters pay $62 a month more, on average, to rent an apartment with an onsite fitness center — $8 less than the monthly premium for a pool.

If you’re a renter who likes a pool, then looking for one in a multifamily building may be your best bet. Among the top 50 metro areas, 28.9% of multifamily listings mention a pool, compared to 12.2% of single-family rental listings. Houston has the highest share of multifamily rentals with pools at 61.3%, while Miami has the highest share of single-family homes available for rent with pools, at 36.6%.