Viking Stove Sales Reduced to Simmer

Viking Range, the company that makes the $10,000 trophy stoves found in so many luxury homes, may be running out of gas. Should you still consider paying more for a house with a kitchen that has one? No way, not even if you've got money to burn.

Executives at the homegrown American company report that orders for their signature behemoths with acres of stainless steel are running at half their levels from their 2005 peak. It seems tight-fisted consumers -- including those in the upper-income brackets -- aren't going for Vikings like they used to.

Indeed, back in the real estate bubble -- remember? -- any kitchen worth mentioning in a real estate listing had to have a Viking hulking amid the custom-made cabinets and granite countertops. Like the flagship Viking 60-inch monster with 18,500-BTU burners and the largest convection oven in the industry. It costs upward of $13,000 and connotes good taste, refinement and top-quality design -- and was critical to help lure wealthy customers to closing.

But today there are plenty of lower-priced alternatives to the Viking that can be equally impressive and functional.