An old wooden house in Vietnam northern province of Bac Giang has been offered VND70 billion (US$3.33 million).
The house is said to have been built with timber from sua (Dalbergia tonkinensis prain), an endangered species which has been banned from commercial use.
It is located on an alley on Nguyen Van Cu Street in Bac Giang town, capital city of the province. The red colored wood is also fragrant, news website VnExpress reported.
The three-compartment house is supported with 24 polished wood pillars, each around 30 centimeters in diameter. The house interior is decorated with many carvings, including dragon heads.
Khong Trong Binh, owner of the house, said he bought it this year from a friend who had bought it from central Vietnam but did not have a large area to put it up.
Nguyen Van Phong, an ancient language researcher and deputy director of the provincial museum, said the carvings in the house are typical of Vietnamese architecture in late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Writings on the roof of the house indicate it was built in 1919, Phong said.
The carpenters, who were among the 20 best in Bac Giang hired to put the house together, said the house was built with red sua.
They said when they polished the wood, more of its veins appeared and turned red.
When it was burned, the wood did not turn into charcoal but into white ash that smelled like aloe wood, the carpenters said.
Binh said he's only sure that the wood is a precious species.
"I have never seen a kind of wood that is so firm, polished, fragrant and has such magnificent veins," said the house owner who has sold wood furnishings for more than 30 years.
Many people in the timber business have visited the house and offered between VND50-70 billion.
"Most recently, a person came to buy the house for a Chinese person but I rejected the offer," Binh said. "I don't even want those people to look at the house."
Sua furniture is highly favored in China, and demand has increased in recent years among the nouveau riche seeking the prestige of having furniture made of precious and rare wood.
Prices offered for Vietnamese sua have increased constantly from 2.5 million yuan ($366,000) a cubic meter in November 2007 to more than $578,000 early this year.
During feudal times in Vietnam, sua was used to make furniture in the palaces.
Binh said he won't sell the house even if people offer higher prices as he built the house for worshipping his ancestors in the first place.
He would keep the house for succeeding generations as a national cultural relic, he said.