What Are Jewel-Box Homes And Why Are They Popular?

jewel box home
Jewel-box houses are catching on during COVID-19.

Jewel-box homes—smaller residences designed for practicality and convenience—aren’t a novel concept in the U.S., but they have become more popular than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Remote work allowed more Americans to enjoy a flexible lifestyle. Many have acquired second homes as vacation properties, and jewel-box homes became the answer to affordable yet luxurious living spaces.

survey of 2,000 people in 2021 revealed that more than half are willing to live in tiny homes. In Massachusetts, for example, the small-house movement has attracted buyers of properties measuring less than 3,000 square feet.

jewel box home interior

It’s reasonable to spend at least $2 million on a jewel-box home. Keep in mind that jewel-box houses are miniature versions of luxury properties, which may cost more than $5 million.

What Are Jewel-Box Homes?

Catherine Bassick defines a jewel-box home as “a down-sized, yet comfortable, living space.” The architecture behind jewel-box houses primarily focuses on customized features for homeowners.

Bassick is the senior global real estate advisor of Bassick Fine Homes and Estates, the top property broker in Massachusetts. She believes that luxury is no longer exclusive to large homes such as mega-mansions or sprawling estates.

jewel box kitchen

Jewel-box houses became more popular because they can have the same amenities found in traditional luxury properties at a lower price.

How Much Do Jewel-Box Homes Cost?

It’s reasonable to spend at least $2 million on a jewel-box home. Keep in mind that jewel-box houses are miniature versions of luxury properties, which may cost more than $5 million.

Bassick said that many jewel-box homes only have one floor with compact designs where the bathroom, kitchen and master suite are on the same level.

You can still find a decent jewel-box house for less than $2 million. For example, a typical 2,300-square-foot property in Wayland, Massachusetts, sells for about $1.05 million.

jewel box house

Luxury is no longer exclusive to large homes such as mega-mansions or sprawling estates, according to Bassick.

Why Are Jewel-Box Homes Popular?

Jewel-box houses became more popular because they can have the same amenities found in traditional luxury properties at a lower price.

Some homeowners may decide to convert a part of their property into a tiny home. For example, you could remodel your backyard or garage into a jewel-box house.

The scope of legal limitations depends on the definition of a tiny house. In general, homeowners may find it easier to build a smaller house as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) because:

  • There are fewer to no building and zoning requirements.
  • There are more financing opportunities for building ADUs.
  • There are different ways to recover the investment.

You can rent out an ADU or add it to your entire property’s resale value if it’s a well-constructed house. Be mindful of the required minimum size as well.

Cities and municipalities implement different rules on the minimum square footage of a tiny house. In Massachusetts, some towns require tiny homes to measure at least 600 square feet.

If you plan to buy or sell a jewel-box house, you’ll need help from a specialist broker. Click here to find out more about Bassick Real Estate Advisors.

Author

Randolf Santos has covered different segments of the real estate industry since 2014. He worked at S&P Global Market Intelligence before joining Forbes Global Properties as a contributor. You can reach him at [email protected]

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