Luxury pool construction is on the rise

The number of swimming pools being built in time for this summer season is not necessarily up from last year, but the luxury quotient is definitely on a higher scale, according to permit records at the town’s building department.

Permit records show a higher number of luxury pools at or near the $100,000 mark, which is remarkably different from last year’s pool projects, many of which were closer to the $20,000 mark.

Four pool permits were purchased January through the end of May, with the most expensive being a $100,000 model on Valeview Road. A $70,000 pool was applied for on Signal Hill Road, a $60,000 pool was permitted for Millbrook Drive, and a $25,000 pool was permitted for Black Alder Lane.

That is up from last year, when the most expensive pool of five applied for in the same time period was a $70,000 model on Danbury Road. The high price tags typically mean someone is spending on an inground pool with gunite lining plus ornamental landscaping and masonry.

From a municipal perspective, it’s a good thing when residents build luxury pools because it means more tax revenue for the town.

From a residential perspective, it means Wilton residents are comfortable with their situations and their times, said economist Steven Glazer of Norwalk Community College..

“My initial thinking on this is that people are willing to spend so much on something that will enhance the value of their homes because they are concerned with the resale value of the home and feel comfortable with their disposable incomes and job security to spend this amount of money to increase their home’s net worth,” Glazer said.

In addition, it elicits the thought of the common phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” as one homeowner may be spending this amount of money, Glazer said.

“And that causes others in the neighborhood to do the same thing so as to compete with the original homeowner,” he said.

Building permits overall are having a banner year. Sixty-nine building permits were filed for in the first quarter that ended March 31, compared with 38 the previous first quarter. That is an increase of nearly double, and bodes well for the local economy, which like most of Connecticut, has struggled to recover from the Great Recession that began nearly 10 years ago.

“Yes, we’ve seen an uptick,” a permit clerk at the town’s Building Department said.

What this increase in permits may indicate is faith in the economy, as evidenced by the continually increasing stock indices, Glazer said, and in people’s disposable incomes, making them more favorable to spend on the items for which they are taking out the permits.