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Kelowna diving deeper into backyard pools


Despite high interest rates, inflation, increased travel after COVID and fears of a recession, homeowners in Kelowna continue to love and build backyard swimming pools.

That trend really took off in 2020 when COVID forced the cancellation of expensive vacations so people with excess cash built swimming pools instead.

READ MORE: Some Kelowna residents are spending their vacation budgets on pools

Demand actually peaked in 2021 when the City of Kelowna issued 282 building permits for swimming pools, almost 100 more than the year before.

That number dropped to 195 last year and 2023 is slightly slower so far.

By contrast, the City of Kamloops issued 48 permits for swimming pools and hot tubs in a busy 2021, dropping to 40 last year.

Based on the average over the past five years, Kelowna residents have built five times as many swimming pools each year as their Kamloops counterparts.

And, sure, Kelowna is somewhat bigger than Kamloops, but only by about 1.5 times.

Despite the popularity of pools in Kelowna, this province is not the most pool happy region in the country.

That distinction goes to Quebec where one out of every 26 homes has a pool, ahead of California but behind Florida, according to the Toronto Pool Supplies website.

The trend to backyard pools took off in Canada in the 1950s, the site says, adding that a pool can increase the value of a home by about 8%.

Backyard pools don’t come cheap.

Most building permits issued for swimming pools are a nice round $50,000. Over the past five years, the average pool price in Kelowna ranged from $44,000 to $59,000 in each year.

That average jumped substantially in the first four months of this year to about $73,000, aided by a few over $100,000 and one, on Shaylor Road in Kelowna, at $230,000.

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