Trend Alert: Jewel-Box Homes

Written by Jaymi Naciri Posted On Thursday, 26 December 2019 05:30

The saying goes, “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” But that’s not necessarily true at Cimarron Hills. This private golf and country club community in the Hill Country north of Austin is known for its expansive homes and lots, plus its 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. But, one builder, Texas-based Sitterle Homes, is “testing smaller luxury homes in the range of 2,034 to 2,564 square feet,” said REALTOR Magazine. “Sitterle Homes has sold about 40 such garden homes in the town's Cimarron Hills…over the last five years. Prices range from $460,000 to $825,000.

It’s part of a growing trend toward smaller, highly amenitized residences dubbed “jewel-box homes.” It’s not an entirely new trend—The Seattle Times was talking about jewel-box homes a decade ago, noting that buyers were gladly trading excessive or unnecessary square footage for “better details in smaller spaces.” 

But it is a change from the “larger is better” mentality we’re all so familiar with. “Style, sophistication, and luxurious amenities aren’t reserved for just the largest homes,” said Family Home Plans. “Many of today’s homebuyers who are moving down from grand-sized luxury residences are choosing to build ‘Jewel Box’ homes—smaller, sophisticated homes that showcase the accoutrements of much larger designs. Exquisite detailing, quality materials and architectural artistry makes these compact homes undeniably impressive in spite of their size.”

Today’s jewel-box homes have become a “hot trend in the luxury sector,” said REALTOR Magazine. They report that, “The number of new luxury homes of 3,000 square feet or less has jumped nearly 20% since 2013. That has corresponded to a decrease in large, high-priced homes, according to data from Home Innovation Research Labs, a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders.”

On Sitterle’s website, you can click on different upscale features right on the floorplan, adding things like a gourmet kitchen, which builds in amenities like a 36-inch cooktop with chimney hood and a double oven; a built-in china cabinet; a spa bath; an outdoor fireplace; and an outdoor kitchen, which reconfigures the bath/shower. This goes beyond what is typically offered in options and upgrades by builders in today’s new-home communities. 

“Empty nesters want to downsize, but they want luxury homes, not starter homes—luxury kitchens, marble surfaces, all the latest and greatest,” Tim Costello, CEO of Builder Homesite, told The Wall Street Journal.

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