In the past few years, new-pool construction growth was expected to be respectable but gradual, and 2017 was no exception. Market study group Metrostudy went into this year anticipating a 7% increase in new-pool construction, with similar activity in the next couple years.

But now, with the third-quarter statistics tabulated, the firm, owned by PSN parent company Hanley Wood, said this year's numbers will likely represent a 12% increase in new-pool activity.

"This year has turned out to be better than expected," said Katie Welch, strategic account manager, pools, new construction, and remodeling for Metrostudy, based in Irvine, Calif. "The loan process has loosened up, and the economy is getting better."

At Hanley Wood's annual U.S. Residential Pool Markets Report presentation at the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo, it was announced that 90,000 new pools are projected for 2018. This would mean a 14% increase. In 2021, the industry is expected to surpass the 100,000 mark for the first time since the recession.

The market study group sees conditions continuing to bolster the pool renovation market. It's true that millennials are finally joining the ranks of homeowners. However, because of market prices, many can only afford existing homes. These new homeowners may be primed to renovate or add pools to their existing abodes, Welch said.

Next year, Metrostudy projects a total of 5.58 million existing pool owners.

The company also revealed the top 20 pool markets in the third quarter, 2017:

1. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Fla.

2. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.

3. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.

4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.

4. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Fla.

6. Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, Fla.

7. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.

8. Panama City, Fla.

9. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla.

10. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla.

11. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

12. Jacksonville, Fla.

13. San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas

14. Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.

15. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla.

16. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

17. Sebastian-Vero Beach, Fla.

18. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas

19. Punta Gorda, Fla.

20. San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.

Housing starts also should be on the rise, the group said, with 1.32 million starts expected.

Metrostudy trackings and researches 381 markets in the U.S., accounting for most areas in the country. The company offers local reports to the pool and spa industry, showing statistics and projections for individual territories. Manufacturers can subscribe to national reports, while builders can buy data on their own market territories.