Paddles up, people! According to The Motley Fool, home pickleball courts are the latest trend in new luxury home sales.
With the popularity of America’s fastest growing sport continuing to grow, pickleball courts are popping up everywhere, inside and out.
In fact, according to Architectural Digest, pickleball has replaced golf as the most coveted sports amenity in luxury residential developments.
RELATED READ: The History of Pickleball: How It All Began
Pickleball courts new must-have neighborhood amenity, too
A decade ago, designer golf courses were a key amenity driving residential sales, especially when it came to vacation homes. Today, buyers are trading in their putters for paddles to play pickleball – a combination of tennis, ping-pong and badminton.
But pickleball courts aren’t just the domain of private luxury enclaves in today’s real estate market. They’re a big draw for the rest of us, too.
USA Pickleball’s 2022 Pickleball Fact and Media Sheet reports pickleball grew in 2021 to more than 4.8 million players in the U.S. Of that total, 3.5 million were casual players competing 1 to 7 times a year. And if you think pickleball is just for the senior set in retirement communities, think again.
With the game’s growing popularity, the average age for all players continues to decline. In 2021, it reached 38.1 years, a drop of 2.9 years from 2020.1
That’s why mainstream homebuilders, many of whose buyer demographics mirror pickleball’s, are tapping into the trend. (A new 2023 Consumer Trends Housing Report from Zillow says the average age of new construction buyers is 44, just slightly older than the average player.) Due to the game’s recent rise in popularity, Builderonline.com reports that many residential developers and builders across the country are adding pickleball courts and complexes to their lineup of community amenities in anticipation that the sport is here to stay.
RELATED READ: Popular Pickleball Communities Across the U.S.
Multifamily developers getting into the game
In order to appeal to a wide range of people in today’s rental pool, multifamily owners, managers and developers are also planning for the needs of pickle–playing residents. Developers are installing courts in droves, and renters have responded positively, according to Multifamily Executive, which recently spoke with design experts on nine emerging industry trends.
“The sport historically appealed to an older demographic, but now it’s everywhere in the mainstream media, and the younger audience has caught on,” says Lauren Werkiser, design director at Morgan Properties. “So now, a not-so-new sport is ‘new’ again as a big outdoor amenity trend.”
Home court advantage: Is a pickleball court worth the ROI?
As one of the hottest sought-after features for home buyers, seems logical that having a pickleball court could be a hot selling point, too. Converting tennis and other outdoor court sports surfaces – even driveways – to pickleball courts is also growing right along with the sport’s popularity and demand. (One tennis court, BTW, can provide space for up to four pickleball courts.)
But as in any home improvement investment, make sure you don’t get pickled by knowing all the costs involved beforehand to make sure the dink is worth the dollars.
Pickleballspots.com estimates the average cost to install a backyard pickleball court ranges from $15,000 to $30,000. However, costs can be as low as $5,000 for a simple setup or as high as $50,000 or more for a luxurious court with all the amenities.
The minimum playing area you’ll need is 20’x44’. Most pickleball courts are built on a 30’ x 60’ concrete pad that extends beyond the game area for player safety. Actual construction costs will vary depending on the materials used, installation and labor costs, and any extras like fencing and lighting.
According to Realtor.com, building a pickleball court on your property might offer some ROI and is often a better bet than putting in a pool, especially after factoring in the ongoing high maintenance costs of the latter. However, the most significant factor to consider, after the initial cost, is whether you’ll earn your money back down the road. Keep in mind that depending on their preferences, buyers who pickle can be just as fickle as those who don’t.
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