Installing a tennis court might be an expensive investment. However, according to real estate experts, this recreational feature is still very much in demand and could add value to your home.
As model Kate Upton and baseball star Justin Verlander list their $11.75m colonial-style home in Benedict Canyon, Hollywood - complete with tennis court - we spoke to several real estate experts to find out if you’re looking to add value to your home could finding space for a tennis court serve up results should you come to sell?
Will a tennis court add value to a property?
Global real estate advisor Susan Smith at Hilton & Hyland (opens in new tab), who is handling the sale of Upton and Verlander’s Benedict Canyon home explains that a tennis court estate will usually attract a premium because it needs a lot of land, so usually, it’s part of a larger estate overall. However, she points out that tennis courts have risen in popularity recently.
'In the last one and half years tennis court estates have increased in value because during Covid any activities that can be done at home have made properties more desirable. There has definitely been an increase in the popularity of tennis,' she says.
Susan also points out that the traditional-style Beverly Hills property, with four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a theater room, and a separate guest suite, comes with added cachet because 'in Los Angeles, one cannot build a new tennis court with lights so a lot of the older estates where tennis court lights exist are much more desirable.'
It’s all about the room to breathe, says Chase Michels at Compass Real Estate (opens in new tab). 'In the current climate, excess space and land are very desirable and viewed as a plus.'
'The uber-wealthy are in search of spacious retreats away from city high-rises. An estate further out from a large city with land and extra amenities is typically cheaper than the luxurious high-rises they sold or are coming from. This is bolstering the high-end luxury market in many suburbs,' he says.
Gideon Lang-Laddie, a broker with The Agency (opens in new tab), Savills associate in California points out that tennis courts are also valuable in terms of practicality as an entertaining garden idea. 'They can easily be multi-purpose, and offer tennis, basketball, soccer, and other uses.'
How much does it cost to install a tennis court?
Former professional tennis player turned real estate broker Sarah Stone, of the Elwell at Elliman Team at Douglas Elliman (opens in new tab), says that you’ll need up to half a million dollars to add a court to your property.
“The construction of tennis courts takes on all sort of variables cost-wise, from the tennis court servicers and builders, contractors, engineers, fencing, landscaping, surface selection, architecture, and eventually permitting, runs about $250,000-$500,000.'
Clay courts require an irrigation system to water the courts daily, adds Sarah: 'And you’ll need to have it serviced at least once a week for it to perform optimally, running around $15,000 per summer, as opposed to hard surface courts which are much easier to maintain, yet lack the visual splendor.'
It is important to factor in the cost of maintenance when installing a tennis court as Gideon warns that an uncared-for tennis court can also be a drawback.
'We’ve seen this when the court in question has gone unused and unloved for an extensive period, a not uncommon phenomenon,' he warns. 'Whilst a dilapidated court appeals to some buyers as a value-add opportunity, there will always be some for whom the question of what to do with that court, or the need to restore or refurbish it, will be a negative and a distraction.'
Jayne Dowle is an award-winning freelance gardening, homes and property writer who writes about everything from swimming ponds to skyscraper apartments, for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. Awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021, she has a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford and a lifelong love of homes, interiors and gardens. Her first memories include planting potatoes with her grandfather and drawing houses. Her own garden - her fourth - at home in a 1920s house in Yorkshire, is south-facing and on the side of a valley. It’s a constant challenge.
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