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How small pools became popular in the pandemic


Around Greystanes, duplexes are being built with plunge pools, while at the luxury end there are even penthouse apartments with plunge pools such as Bondi Pool Penthouse.

Trudi and Rohan Ritchie from Bilgola took the plunge a few weeks ago. Despite living on the northern beaches, Mrs Ritchie is not a huge fan of the sand and waves and prefers the privacy and convenience of the pool in her own backyard.

Trudi and Rohan Ritchie watch their children Zali and Broc swimming in their new plunge pool.

Trudi and Rohan Ritchie watch their children Zali and Broc swimming in their new plunge pool.Credit:Wolter Peeters

She swims when she needs a break from working from home and her son, 14, and daughter, 12, jump in as soon as they arrive home from school.

“It’s great for work-life balance, it’s been great in the heatwave we had last weekend, and we’ve had friends over for barbecues out the back and had their kids swimming, so there’s the social aspect,” Mrs Ritchie said.

“The kids absolutely love it and it gets them off technology because they want to be outside having fun in the pool.”

The couple always wanted a pool but the pandemic brought their plans forward because it led them to save money since they could no longer travel.

The block wasn’t suitable for a bigger pool and Ms Ritchie said the plunge pool option meant they didn’t need to excavate. Instead they installed a $30,000 prefab fibreglass pool from Little Pools on the concrete slab at the back of their home.

The small container pool was prefabricated and then put on top of the concrete slab for the home.

The small container pool was prefabricated and then put on top of the concrete slab for the home.Credit:Wolter Peeters

Emily Sim, chief executive of property management at Ray White, said the plunge pool concept was not new and she had found the “secret delight” in many homes, especially in the inner city.

However, they were much cheaper than they used to be, with the “container pool” concept that started four years ago, coming in options for $20,000 rather than the starting price of $60,000 for an in-ground concrete swimming pool.

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“Perhaps this is the The Block effect again,” Ms Sim said. “They showcased prefabricated pools in the last season of The Block but they are absolutely gaining momentum with inner-city dwellers as property owners can add major capital for a third of the price.”

Mr Fagan said plunge pools had become a new “buzzword” during the pandemic and some people were using the term loosely. He defines a plunge pool as less than five metres in length and three metres in width, but Compass has fielded inquiries from people looking for plunge pools as long as nine metres.

“A plunge pool was initially for that courtyard, that small backyard, or something close to the house that they could just jump into and cool off or maybe sit around and enjoy that beer or bottle of red,” Mr Fagan said.

Rhys Nawydycz, owner of Inlander Plunge Pools, moved into specialising in plunge pools when he took over the family business about four years ago because of the growing popularity.

He said it was up hugely during the pandemic because a lot of people who retained their jobs had more money to spend because other discretionary spending was not possible.

“I would say it’s just people wanting to maximise the space in their yard, but still get that extra depth out of a pool,” he said.

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