Cheap money is continuing to drive up prices in the arts and antiques market, says the latest survey from RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) published yesterday. The all lot net price balance has doubled in the last three months from 7 percent to 14 percent, indicating that an increasing number of chartered surveyors believe that prices of arts and antiques are rising rather than falling. In fact, the latest responses demonstrate that prices are rising in 70 percent of the market, and that it is the top end of the market which has the strongest readings. However, the contemporary art market is starting to look like the lame duck of the arts and antiques sector as more surveyors report that prices are falling. The number of chartered surveyors reporting that prices are falling rather than rising in the contemporary arts market increased in the third quarter of this year to 34 percent, from 24 percent in Q2. As in previous quarters, prices fell across the board and show a marked contrast to the rises seen at the start of last year. In contrast, the traditional 'safe havens' of jewelery and silverware had strong readings, with positive results in all price brands. 44 percent more surveyors felt that jewelery prices were still rising, and 37 percent more felt that silverware prices were on the up as well. The oil and watercolor sector is still strong at the top end of the market, despite recording an overall net balance of -3 percent. 9 percent more surveyors believed that prices were rising in the market for pieces over GBP50,000, and 14 percent more agreed that those between GBP5,000 and GBP50,000 pounds were still experiencing price rises rather than falls. RICS spokesperson, Chris Ewbank says, "The arts and antiques market has held up well under the duress of the recession with many investors looking for a safety net for their savings. Cheap money, and downwards price adjustments in the last five years or so, is helping to drive up prices in nearly every part of the market. However, the contemporary market has suffered quite a turn around in fortunes over the last year, as those turning to the arts and antiques market are concentrating on the more stable and traditional markets, which tend to hold their value, or at least pose less risk. This is most visible in the fact that the international auction houses have suffered a significant decline in turnover over the past year, whilst the smaller provincial firms have seen an increase in activity." Published quarterly, the RICS Arts and Antiques Survey measures surveyor confidence in the general arts and antiques market and in certain sub-sectors including gold and silver, furniture, pictures, ceramics and clocks.
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