Mountain resort markets have been in high demand since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, sending prices soaring in hotspots such as Vail and Aspen. In Montana’s Flathead County, where Whitefish and Bigfork are located, there have been more than 90 sales of $1 million-plus in 2021. As a result, the average price for single-family homes now hovers above $1.827 million—a high price but still a relative bargain compared with similar lifestyle markets in the U.S.
In this week’s look at the world’s finest homes, I sized up Montana’s market against similarly priced properties in New Mexico and Southern California. From a mountaintop retreat in Santa Fe to a bohemian compound in Santa Ynez to a lakefront retreat near Bigfork, here’s a look at what about $5.5 million buys in each of the three markets.
Lakeside, Flathead County, Montana | $5.4 million
Located roughly 15 minutes from downtown Lakeside and the Blacktail Ski Resort, this trophy property comes with 270 feet of coveted Flathead Lake frontage. Spread across two parcels, the property includes a main house, a guest house and a cabana house that combine for seven bedrooms, ten bathrooms and nearly 3,900 square feet of space.
Features: A soaring living room sits at the heart of the home and features a stone fireplace that runs from floor to ceiling. Thick beams, stonework and distressed wood floors lend a cozy yet contemporary vibe to the living areas. The chef’s kitchen outfitted with high-end appliances and cabinetry sits off the kitchen area.
Other perks: In addition to prized lake frontage, the property features two private docks and a boat slip. Mountain, lake and forested views abound.
Santa Fe, New Mexico | $5.7 million
The beautiful native earth landscapes of New Mexico are on full display from this mountaintop retreat, which serves as the centerpiece of a three-lot compound totaling approximately 53 acres. Located roughly 7 miles from Santa Fe Plaza, the secluded compound takes in commanding views of the surrounding mountain ranges, city lights and Pecos Wilderness.
Features: The home’s great room is a large open-concept space that incorporates a wall of 20-foot-high windows, a media area and a wet bar. The kitchen, which has been updated and features a wide island/seating area, opens to a dining patio with spectacular views.
Other perks: In addition to the main house, which includes guest quarters, the property features a heated lap swimming pool, a spa and a separate studio with 16-foot-high ceilings.
Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, California | $5.5 million
Called Auberge Los Olivos, this eclectic ranch compound in Santa Ynez wine country consists of seven cottage-like homes and two additional barn structures. Modernized while retaining a certain 1920s authenticity, the homes feature kiln-dried reclaimed wood, hand-painted beams and artistic tilework.
Features: The property encompasses some 8 acres of grounds dotted with palms, lavender and California natives. Each of the structures on the grounds features an intimate outdoor space, whether it’s decking around a fireplace, a tree-topped sitting area or dining patio.
Other perks: The property’s “clubhouse” is a subdued, single-story building with open space, polished concrete floors and a wall of glass that fills the east side of the structure.