Quantifying Pickleball

As an avid pickleball player and real estate investor, I thought it’d be good to go through a thought exercise on pickleball’s impact on real estate prices. More pickleball courts will appear over time given pickleball continues to be the fastest growing sport in America.

Although I love pickleball, as a homeowner, I would not want a pickleball court to be constructed within three blocks of my house. The noise from pickleball would drive this writer nuts. When you’re not playing, the incessant pocking sound starts to grate after about an hour.

When you play pickleball, however, the noise is a positive part of the game that makes playing more fun. The noise helps you react to the ball to hit the best return, dink, or defensive shot possible. Watch any sport you enjoy on TV with the sound on mute and it’s just not as entertaining.

However, when you’re trying to work, read, nap, eat, play with your kids, or watch TV, the noise from pickleball is a nuisance. And it’s not just the noise that can be bothersome, it’s also the increased traffic, parties, and reduced parking spaces due to an influx of players.

Finally, if you’re addicted to the game, then having courts so close by might tank your work productivity. And that’s not good for helping you achieve financial independence!

How Much Will Pickleball Affect Real Estate Prices

The impact on pickleball and property prices depends on the distance between the pickleball courts and the properties. There is also an optimal distance where pickleball courts can actually boost real estate prices.

Another variable is the number of pickleball courts near a property. The fewer the pickleball courts, the less impact they will have on real estate prices. For reference, when pickleball courts are constructed, usually 4-8 are constructed at once.

Let’s go through how much pickleball will affect real estate prices by various distances. Below is a chart and then a discussion.

quantifying Pickleball's impact on real estate prices

1) If a pickleball court is next door or right across the street from a home

A property’s value could decline by 10% – 20% if pickleball courts are constructed across the street. There is the triple-whammy of hearing the noise, seeing people play, and experiencing more traffic.

You will already be annoyed by the noise. But to then see people joyfully playing for hours on end could drive you nuts. You may start getting pissed off, wondering why these people don’t have jobs or families to take care of.

If you start seeing people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s playing pickleball during the middle of the week, you might even start viewing them as deadbeats!

Maybe they have Trust Fund Jobs because they already made their fortunes. Or maybe they are quiet quitters who work at big firms like Google and Meta. Some will be underemployed or unemployed and your disdain for them may grow.

Might Be A Nonstarter For Some Prospective Buyers

A significant percentage of homebuyers may be unwilling to buy a home next to a pickleball court no matter what the price. The percentage of people could be as high as 30%, no matter how good the deal is. The noise is just a nonstarter for many of these folks who treasure their peace and quiet.

It’s a similar situation if someone died in a house. Probably around 25% of homebuyers will never buy a house where a violent death or suicide occurred.

A death from natural causes, on the other hand, is acceptable to most people. It could even be seen as a positive given the home enabled someone to pass peacefully in their sleep.

2) If a pickleball court is one or two blocks away from a home

If a pickleball court is constructed one or two blocks away, property values could decline by 5% – 10%. You will still hear the noise, but it will be softer. In addition, you probably won’t be able to see the joy on the players faces at that distance. Hence, you will likely be less agitated.

Unfortunately, the increased traffic congestion may still be a problem. If you have your own parking space, then you might not be as annoyed. However, you could still wind up with people blocking your driveway or partially parked in your driveway.

3) If a pickleball court is created three blocks away.

You may still hear some pickleball noise from three blocks away, especially if your house is up on a hill with a view of the courts. Sound tends to travel upward. However, a three-block distance from a pickleball court is starting to get into neutral territory in terms of real estate price impact.

Your house may see up to a 5% decline in value due to the noise and increased traffic. Or your house could see no decrease in value if you can’t really hear the noise and there are enough parking facilities near the pickleball courts so traffic won’t be a problem.

If the pickleball courts attract considerate players who respect the game, the neighborhood, and the rules, then courts three blocks away will unlikely negatively impact surrounding home prices. For some avid pickleball players who want to buy property, courts three blocks away could be ideal and might push up real estate prices.

4) If a pickleball court is created four-to-six blocks away.

A pickleball court created four-to-six blocks away is the golden distance that may actually increase your property’s value by 1% – 5%. At four blocks away or more, you can barely hear the pickleballs pock and pop sounds anymore. At six blocks away, the noise is inaudible. Traffic will unlikely be negatively affected by pickleball players either.

Given pickleball continues to grow in popularity, there will be more and more pickleball players looking to buy homes within walking distance from a pickleball court. These picklers will also look for homes with enough space to construct their own pickleball courts. Walking four-to-six blocks is convenient for most able-bodied people.

In addition, pickleball courts are generally built in parks that are surrounded by play structures, open grass spaces, and other facilities. And, the majority of people would love to live within walking distance of a park, especially homebuyers with children. Therefore, the added amenity of pickleball courts in a nearby park could definitely boost nearby home values by 1% to 5%.

5) If pickleball courts are a mile away (~20 blocks)

I live in Golden Gate Heights, San Francisco, and was thrilled to see the city start construction on eight new pickleball courts at Larsen Park on 19th and Vicente. The park is about one mile away, or about 20 city blocks, from my home. The distance is walkable, but I will probably drive.

As a pickleball player, I am ecstatic that I no longer have to drive 3.8 miles away to play at Presidio Wall or Louis Sutter. I can save about 12 minutes of driving each way by going to Larsen Park. I’ll be interested in meeting new people in the community as well, which is one of the keys to a better, longer life.

If I was looking for property on the growing west side of San Francisco, I’d most certainly try to find a home near Larsen Park. I’m certain the park will become a new gathering spot for a lot of social gatherings in the future. There will be fun tournaments, potlucks, birthday parties, playdates, and more.

Personally, I’d be willing to pay 1% – 3% more for a home that’s between 4-20 blocks away from a park with new pickleball courts. The more you enjoy pickleball, the more you are will to pay up for amenities near by.

For homeowners who do not play pickleball or who never plan to play pickleball, the impact of new pickleball courts within a mile away is neutral. But there will surely be future homebuyers will will refuse to buy in a neighborhood that doesn’t have pickleball facilities.

What You Can Do To Protect The Value Of Your Home If Pickleball Courts Appear Nearby

1) Install double or triple-pane windows and storm windows

The best thing you can do is soundproof your house with thicker windows and acoustic grade storm windows. You can get triple-pane windows plus a storm window on the inside.

I had storm windows installed at my old house in The Marina because it was near one of the busiest streets in the entire city. The windows helped deaden the sound by about 35%. The key is to have as large of an air gap as possible between the main window and the storm window.

Install acoustic grade storm windows or window inserts to help reduce the noise of Pickleball's

2) Pick up the game of pickleball with all family members

Another thing you can do to protect the value of your house is to become a pickleball player yourself. The more you like pickleball, the less the noise, traffic, and people will bother you. You can then become a pickleball evangelist by trying to convert more people into playing.

3) Join a leadership committee

You can also be part of a committee that sets and enforces pickleball hours. Encourage mixed use of the courts so that there are breaks from the noise during the day. Many courts are mixed use with tennis, volleyball, and basketball.

Finally, you could go the combative route and create a petition to remove the pickleball courts. However, as one homeowner with a pickleball court in her backyard found out, a petition will create unwelcome enemies.

In the end, going to war with the pickleball community could hurt your property’s value even more. Hence, a better solution is to try and come up with a compromise.

house with a pickleball court

Source: MLS

Worst-Case Scenario

Finally, just know that even if pickleball courts are built right across your home, you should have peace and quiet between 8 pm and 7 am every night. Most pickleball courts built for nighttime play won’t be built near homes. That simply wouldn’t fly for neighbors.

As more people play pickleball, the negative effects pickleball will have on real estate prices should decline. Give adoption of the game enough time. Eventually, the creation of pickleball courts at most distances from homes may serve to boost their values.

But in the meantime, if you are a homeowner or potential real estate buyer, I’d pay attention to where existing and future pickleball courts will spring up. The last thing you want to do is buy a home and have pickleball ball courts built within a couple of blocks away.

Reader Questions And Suggestions

How much do you think the construction of pickleball courts affects the value of real estate? How would you measure its impact?

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