Arts and antiques continue to provide an alternative safe haven for investors amid financial turmoil, with prices continuing to rise in most segments of the market, according to a new report.
But RICS, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveryors which published the report, warns that the market may be beginning to top out as other investments show signs of recovery.
Its latest Arts & Antiques Market Survey found that the number of chartered surveyors reporting rising prices across the board fell to seven per cent in the second quarter of this year from 19 per cent in the first three months.
The survey tracks prices and trends in general art and antiques plus sub-sectors including gold and silver, furniture, ceramics and clocks.
RICS said contemporary art again saw the largest price falls and across all price brackets – 24 per cent more surveyors reported falling rather than rising prices, with 33 per cent 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 five per cent thanks to positive sentiment in the middle and top end of the market.
The strongest sectors, according the surveyors questioned for the survey, were silverware, militaria and jewellery.
Prices rose across the board in each of these categories with 39 per cent more surveyors reporting a rise than a fall in silver, 32 per cent more reporting a rise than a fall in militaria and 26 per cent in jewellery.
RICS said the outlook for the third quarter of 2009 remains positive, with demand expected to continue to grow.
The survey found that 41 per cent more chartered surveyors see demand rising rather than falling, up from 39 per cent in the first quarter.
At the same time the number of surveyors expecting an increase in volumes of paintings and antiques feeding into the market has fallen, although the balance is still positive.
Thirteen per cent more say supply will rise rather than fall over the next three months, down from 31 per cent in April. This could see further price rises in key sectors as demand outstrips supply.
Commenting on the survey, Jeremy Lamond, of Halls Fine Art in Shrewsbury, 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.
“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.”