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What you should know before building a swimming pool at your Spanish home

Building a swimming pool at your Spanish property may not be as expensive as you thought, but there are a number of considerations to factor in first, from permits to extra costs and whether it's a worthwhile investment.

is it worth getting a swimming pool in spain
Here are some the factors you need to consider before building a pool in Spain. Photo: panoramicvillascosta / Pixabay

A pool is something that most foreigners dream of when they move to Spain and many decide to install one when they buy their property. But what does building a pool actually involve and how much will it cost you?

According to Spain’s mains home improvement company Leroy Merlin, the sale of portable pools rose by 350 percent during the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In terms of actual swimming pools built in people’s terraces and gardens, the number of construction projects that rose by 60 percent in 2020 and demand shot up by 300 percent, according to Spanish swimming pool companies Jnp Piscinas and Piscinia.

Before you go ahead and call the contractor, you have to be aware that it isn’t just a simple matter of digging a hole, lining it and filling it with water; you have to apply for planning permission, employ an architect, make it legal and consider the monthly costs, among other factors.

Despite all this, installing a swimming pool in your Spanish property will bring you improved quality of life (especially during the sweltering summer months) and you will most likely achieve a great return on investment.

1) The position of your pool is very important

Before you even begin applying for planning permission or anything else, you need to think about where to position your pool. You’ll need to make sure your garden is completely flat and not sloping in any way, otherwise, it will require a lot of extra work and money. You also need to think about nearby trees and foliage. If you build your pool too close to trees, it’s likely that you will spend all your time cleaning it as it will get filled with leaves and bugs. In addition to this, you need to make sure it gets some direct sunlight so that it can warm up naturally. 

2) You need to consider what type and material you want

There are lots of different types of swimming pools to consider. Choosing a portable pool or one that sits on top of the ground will obviously cost you considerably less than one that is dug into the ground. Similarly, prefabricated fibreglass pools that you install into the ground are significantly cheaper than ones where concrete is used. To decide which type you want, think about how much you will use it, how long you want your pool to last and how many people will use it. According to pool installation company Momentos Piscina, a gunite pool (which is one built from concrete applied through a high-pressure hose) is the most durable.

3) You will need planning permission

If you want to build a swimming pool, however big or small, you will need to apply for planning permission from your town hall or local council in order to get a licence to build your pool. Constructing a pool falls under the Obra Mayor category, which means that you will also need to pay the associated taxes and fees for this. Remember that it can take around two months for permission to be granted for this type of construction or longer if there are any issues. If you don’t get planning permission and the council finds out, you could be slapped with some hefty fines or even forced to demolish it. 

READ ALSO: Do I need planning permission in Spain and how do I apply for it?

4) You will need an architect

In order to get planning permission for an Obra Mayor, it is necessary to employ an architect to submit plans to the city council. This means that you will also need to factor in the cost of the architect’s fees too. An architect can help find the perfect spot and materials for your pool and surrounding area. For example, a wooden decking might be something that you want, but a good architect will explain why this option may cost you more in the long run, because it won’t last as long as concrete or tiles.

According to Spanish swimming pool company Proyectos Piscinas, which specialises in helping clients build pools, an architect’s fee will cost between €450 and €1500. 

5) You will need permission from the community of owners

If you live in a gated community or own the top-floor apartment in a block and want to install a rooftop pool, you will also need to get permission from the people who own the other houses or other apartments. This is because it could affect them. A rooftop pool causes lots of extra pressure and weight on top of the building that could cause structural issues for the apartments below. If building a pool in your garden, there could be issues for your neighbours due to flooding and damage to the surrounding plants because of the chlorine and various other chemicals.

Photo: panoramicvillascosta / Pixabay

6) What’s the average price of building a swimming pool in Spain?

The costs of building a swimming pool will obviously vary greatly depending on the size, the type of pool and what it’s made out of.

According to Spanish company Momentos Piscina, a gunite concrete pool of around 6m x 3m will cost you around €10,000.

Rates vary considerably according to companies and location however.

“There are some people who want to spend only between € 600 and € 1,000, when the price to build a pool ranges between €10,000 and € 15,000 ,” argues Marketing Manager at Piscinia Jesús Rodríguez.

Habitissimo also provides several estimates – from a polyester 8m x 4m pool that will set you back €16,000 to a natural stone 8m x 4m pool that will set you back €12,000, and a climatised pool that will cost you €20,000. 

If you opt for a small pool or one that uses a liner or even prefabricated fiberglass, it will work out considerably cheaper.

READ ALSO: The real cost of buying a house in Spain as a foreigner 

7) What are the maintenance costs?

There are lots of costs involved in keeping your pool clean and in working order. There are tablets to put in weekly, chemicals to balance the PH, filters to run, as well as cleaning and repairs.

According to Costa Real, it will cost between €50 and €200 to maintain each month. With the price of the chemicals and the cleaning, it costs about the same whether you do it yourself or get a company to do it for you. Many companies will charge a monthly fee to come and maintain your pool once a week. The costs will greatly depend on where in Spain you are located. For example, pool maintenance in Catalonia will cost you a lot more than pool maintenance in Alicante.

8) Your pool will need to be registered

When your pool is complete, it will need to be registered to be legal. This means registering it on the property registry known as the catastro. A notary or lawyer will be able to do this for you at an extra cost. 

This is important if you ever come to sell your property in the future and will save your problems further down the line.

9) A valuable asset for your property

The pandemic and in particular Spain’s first lockdown has seen the demand for outdoor space in Spanish properties skyrocket. As a result, homes with access to community gardens and a swimming pool have seen their price increase by 20 percent on average in 2021. 

And the trend is no different for properties that have their own swimming pool. 

In Andalusia, houses with swimming pools are now 65 percent more expensive on average than similar properties without one, according to property search giants Idealista, in the Valencia region they’re 54.4 percent more expensive, 52 percent in the Canaries and 35 percent in Murcia.


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For members


Spain’s deputy PM proposes freezing mortgage rates

Yolanda Díaz, Spain's Deputy Prime Minister and Labour Minister, has called for a freeze on variable mortgage rates amid news that Spain's biggest banks have enjoyed a bumper year of record profits.

Spain's deputy PM proposes freezing mortgage rates

Yolanda Díaz, Spain’s Labour Minister and the ideological force behind sweeping labour market reforms, has called for a freeze on variable rate mortgages following news that some of Spain’s biggest banks reported billions in record profits last year.

On Wednesday, BBVA reported a 2022 profit of €6.4 billion, the largest profit in its history. Driving this profit, the bank’s interest margin grew by a whopping 30.4 percent, commission income by 12.3 percent, and loans by 13.3 percent.

Banco Santander posted an annual net profit of €9.6 billion, up 18 percent from 2021 and higher than forecasted by analysts polled by financial data firm FactSet.

READ ALSO: Banco Santander posts record profit as rates rise

Given these record-breaking profits, especially against the backdrop of a prolonged cost of living and inflationary crisis in Spain, Díaz has said the government must act decisively to “freeze mortgages” and “moderate profits.”

“The crisis cannot be an excuse to earn more,” she said, adding that the rise in the Euribor rate is “very serious”, with the average increase (estimated to be €258 per month) “impossible to bear” for normal Spaniards.

Euribor is the interest rate most often used to work out mortgage payments and calculate both variable and fixed rates.

READ ALSO: What the Euribor rise means for property buyers and owners in Spain

It is anchored to the interest rate set by the European Central Bank (ECB), and, as we are now seeing, quite responsive to global economic events. By the end of January, the rate had risen to almost 3.4 percent, the highest level since December 2008.

“While the rise of the Euribor will increase the average mortgage payment by €250 per month, BBVA’s profits grow by 38 percent to reach €6.4 billion, the largest in its history. The crisis cannot be an excuse to earn more. Freeze mortgages, moderate profits,” Díaz wrote on Twitter on Wednesday January 31st.

Banks respond

Unsurprisingly, Spanish banks are not exactly keen on Díaz’s idea. BBVA President, Carlos Torres, said “I trust what will happen is that the benefits of a market economy continue to be defended”. 

Torres also tried to remind people of the “negative years” that BBVA has endured, with “many billions of negatives”. 

It remains to be seen how persuasive Spaniards or the Spanish government find this comparison, or whether Díaz’s Twitter idea will translate into policy.

Windfall tax

Díaz’s call for a mortgage rate freeze is in line with the Spanish government’s approach to the excess profits of banks and energy companies. In July, the Spanish government introduced a temporary windfall tax on excess profits in order to fund some of the extraordinary measures it was implementing to help the most vulnerable in Spanish society deal with the cost of living crisis.

The government in July introduced a draft bill to slap a temporary 4.8 percent charge on banks’ net interest income and net commissions in 2023 and 2024 to fund measures to ease cost-of-living pressures. Between the new taxes on banks and energy companies, they should generate around €7.0 billion for the state coffers in 2023 and 2024. 

However, in November the ECB published a non-binding legal opinion that suggested Madrid undertake a “thorough analysis of potential negative consequences for the banking sector” of the tax.