In theory, “it’s hard to put a value on it, because we’ve got a unicorn in the woods,” he says of the house, which is about a half-hour drive from the Vail ski resort. “Is it worth $29 million? Is it worth $25 million? Is it worth $32 million? It’s in the eye of the beholder.” 

Stockton has permission from the home’s seller to sit down with serious prospective buyers and go through the building’s costs to show what it would take to create a comparable property from scratch.

There’s the cost of the land itself: The house sits on 70.5 acres and is surrounded by a network of private and semi-private hiking trails. Then there’s the cost of hiring Annabelle Selldorf (if she’d even take the work, never guaranteed with an architect of her firm’s stature). Add the cost of a contractor, a top-notch builder, and the materials. 

For wealthy clients, when cost is no object, choices in marble, wood, tile, paint, and hardware can go a little haywire, explains Stockton.“I always say that when it comes to quality in the ultra-high-net-worth market, you have ‘good,’ ‘better,’ ‘best,’ and ‘might as well.’”

Finally, he suggests that prospective buyers consider the time that it would take to build a special house like this from scratch. “It’s a three-year endeavor,” he argues. “And most people don’t want to wait three years.” These projects are complete.

When buyers see all that, he says, “it validates the price so they can see it’s not so arbitrary.”

Inevitably, much comes back to whether or not the building’s cost is something  the market can support. A seller can prove that a gold-plated house cost $1 billion to construct, but that doesn’t make the price tag easier to swallow.

“This house is something that’s truly unique,” Stockton says. But “uniqueness may hold a certain value for one person and much less for another.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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