Wary savers are turning to antiques as a safe investment opportunity, pushing up auction prices.
Not only is the sluggish housing market reducing the quantity of antiques for sale, but tangible investments are growing in popularity compared with other more traditional investments.
Nearly a fifth more respondents to the RICS Arts and Antiques survey reported a rise than a fall in lot prices in the first quarter, compared with a 32 per cent balance in the other direction in the last three months of 2008.
The most dramatic shift was in the £1 to £1000 bracket, with less change at the very top end where pieces are priced at £50,000 and above. Although furniture is still slow, thanks to the housing market, the oil and watercolours are outperforming for the first time since the survey began.
Jeremy Lamond, at RICS, said: “Lack of supply is not deterring the public from bidding at auction and we expect this to continue in coming months as buyers see the value in investing in arts and antiques.”