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Arts and antiques still safe bets for investors

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13/07/2009

Arts and antiques continue to provide an alternative safe haven for investors, with prices continuing to rise in most segments of the market.

However, the drop in the number of surveyors reporting price rises in the second quarter suggests that the rebound in other investment markets may be having an effect on sentiment says the latest arts and antiques survey published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

The number of surveyors reporting rising prices in all lots fell back to 7% from 19% in Q1, but remains in positive territory.

Contemporary art again saw the largest price falls and across all price brackets: 24% more surveyors reported a fall than a rise in prices of contemporary art with 33% more surveyors saying prices are dropping in the £5,000 to £50,000 tier.

In contrast to the contemporary arts market, the oil and watercolour sub-sector is still fairing well, recording a positive net balance overall of 5%, driven by positive results in the middle and top end of the market.

Meanwhile silverware, militaria and jewellery were the strongest sectors. Prices rose across the board in each of these categories with 39% more surveyors reporting a rise than a fall in silver, 32% more reporting a rise than a fall in militaria and 26% in jewellery.

The outlook for Q3 remains positive with demand expected to continue to grow. Two fifths more surveyors see demand rising rather than falling up from 39% in Q1. At the same time the number of surveyors expecting supply to increase has dropped back, although it is still positive.

RICS spokesperson Andrew Davies said: “It is clear that some sectors of the arts and antiques market are fairing better than others at the moment with the traditional ‘safe havens’ of jewellery and silverware still attracting the more cautious investor. However, with a more positive flow of news coming from the stock market and the housing market in recent months, we have seen a slight decrease in those wanting to invest at the top end as they switch back to more traditional forms of investment.

“The outlook for arts and antiques remains positive in the near-term as demand is strong and looks set to stay so.”

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