Like so many other oversized recreational facilities, tennis courts have garnered a resurgence of interest over the past year and a half as luxury buyers suddenly stuck at home have turned to larger properties and full service. And with the US Open kicking off this week, more owners and buyers could be inspired to add a personal tennis court.
“For a very long time, people were moving towards smaller, more manageable properties, but with Covid it was just the opposite,” said Dana Koch, a Corcoran agent based in Palm Beach, Florida. “People were looking for more outdoor space and room to breathe. A few years ago, it was rare for someone to specify that they wanted a tennis court, and now we get that request much more often than before.
Nationally, searches that include ‘tennis’ as a keyword increased 15% in the year through July 26 compared to the same period in 2020, according to data provided for Mansion Global by realtor .com, with the highest demand being concentrated in hot weather. States including Florida, Georgia, California and Texas.
(Mansion Global is owned by Dow Jones. Dow Jones and realtor.com are both owned by News Corp.)
“It’s absolutely popular in the Florida market,” Mr. Koch said. “Anything that lets you enjoy your surroundings and the weather outside is a huge advantage. “
And with the Delta variant of Covid-19 hampering plans to reopen in the fall, luxury buyers continue to prefer large compound-style properties that can serve as a haven from the outside world.
“There is a constant interest in outdoor living spaces – properties that have private pools, athletic fields, outdoor kitchens, a place for kids to play,” said Emil Hartoonian, Managing Partner of The Agency in Calabasas, California. “There is a real influx of people who want to have an almost self-sufficient house where you can have it all.
That said, while home prices across the board have risen sharply over the past year and a half, for homeowners looking to increase their property’s value even further before putting it on the market, l The addition of a tennis court will not necessarily result in a higher selling price and in some cases may limit the number of interested buyers.
“If a homeowner is trying to modify the home to make it more salable, adding a tennis court doesn’t necessarily make it more salable,” Hartoonian said. “Technically you are eliminating a bit of usable space from the backyard [that could be used for] grass cushions, a guest house.
If a property has sufficient square footage to accommodate all possible outdoor amenities without using space for grass and entertainment, then a tennis court can still be considered a must.
“I currently have a six-acre property, and I wouldn’t [remove] the tennis court, ”said David Kramer of Hilton & Hyland / Luxury Portfolio International in Los Angeles. “When you walk into very large properties, you need the court as a convenience. “
However, for smaller courts, removing the tennis court may actually add more potential value than keeping one or adding a new court at the expense of another back space.
“If it takes the whole court, that’s usually a negative point,” Kramer said. “If you have a yard and everything is concrete like a tennis court and swimming pool and no grass, you better take that court out. I have had properties that have struggled to sell because they had a yard as a yard and then the owners took the yard off and sold the property right away.
And if you choose between value-added outdoor amenities, a swimming pool will usually trump a tennis court.
“It doesn’t tend to be a snap if there isn’t a tennis court,” said Rob Johnson, an agent for Brown Harris Stevens in Greenwich, Connecticut. “Whereas with a swimming pool, the perception is that getting a swimming pool company to build a swimming pool is going to be more expensive and time consuming. It is more decisive that there is an existing pool compared to an existing land.
Mr. Kramer added, “A lot is 60 feet by 120 feet, and when you have a lot that isn’t much bigger, you better take the lot out and create a large, graceful backyard with a new swimming pool. . With older homes, there was a craze for tennis courts in the 1970s and 1980s, and people wanted courts, so they just pushed them anywhere.
Ultimately, as with other custom equipment, owners should focus on their own enjoyment of a property rather than a theoretical future increase in the sale price that might end up being negligible. The increased resale of a tennis court will likely be “about the cost of adding it,” Johnson said. “It’s more a personal preference and a luxury than a value added proposition.”
And in the current climate, buyers are more than willing to buy properties with large outdoor spaces, with a view to eventually adding their own custom sports fields.
“This year so far I’ve had two people setting up tennis courts at properties I’ve sold them, which is kind of a turnaround,” Mr. Kramer said. “It’s not something we usually hear about.”
Mr. Koch added, “In Palm Beach we have a very limited supply of large properties in general, it’s not an area you can come to. [as a buyer] and say you only want a house with a tennis court. I had a client who bought another property next door and demolished the house just so they could add a tennis court.