Why some investors prefer the art of property when the real estate market is picking up steam

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Artist Tanya Blanchard had just finished building a new home studio when COVID-19 erupted and she became nervous as the economy plunged into recession.

“I was really worried that I would not be busy and people would not be able to afford art,” Ms Blanchard said.

But her fears were short-lived.

As people spend more time at home, begin renovations and are unable to book a vacation abroad, she has seen a COVID-inspired renaissance.

Art lovers cashed out their pandemic wallets and started spending big bucks.

“All of a sudden I got very busy,” said Ms. Blanchard.

“It was a really crazy time.”

A young woman is sitting in front of a colorful painting.
Singer Amy Shark recently acquired a painting by Tanya Blanchard.(

Supplied by: Tanya Blanchard

)

Ms Blanchard has seen a significant increase in requests for valuable commissions.

“The orders I took … most of them were great works of art,” she said.

“People were ready to spend this money.

Picasso or property?

A man holds an art auction in front of a crowd of people.
Charles Ninoe, head of art at auction house Webb’s, says art sales have skyrocketed. (

Staged by: Charles Ninov

)

According to New Zealand-based auction house Webb’s, more and more investors are opting for the art of property as the property market continues to skyrocket.

Art department head Charles Ninov said buyers are increasingly looking for alternative investment opportunities.

He said that Webb’s art sales had doubled in recent months as people sought to diversify.

“I think people see the real estate market is incredibly hot, I think they see the stock market is incredibly hot,” he said.

“We have dramatically increased the volume of business that we do.”

A man places a bid on a work of art at auction.
Auction houses speak of a resurgence of interest in art. (

Staged by: Charles Ninov

)

Mr. Ninov said that while the art market has not kept pace with the surge in property prices over the past 50 years, it has not lagged far behind and remains an attractive option for investors.

“If you go to the stock market and invest something like that in Bitcoin, you really are betting on the idea, and if that market goes down, the money will disappear,” he said.

“You don’t have to pay resale tax for this, and the prices of artwork do not change.

“What other things can you buy to have a cultural experience, something you love that also gets more expensive – I mean, it’s totally unique.”

‘Great art values’

Painting in an art gallery.
Smith & Singer recently sold Fred Williams’ Landscape of Guteg (1975) for $ 1.2 million.(

Supplied by: Smith & Singer

)

Smith & Singer, formerly known as Sotheby’s, regularly holds art auctions in Melbourne and Sydney, and has seen a surge in activity.

CEO Gary Singer said travel restrictions mean art lovers have money to spend on other interests.

“People are interacting with us more than before COVID,” said Mr Singer.

“They are willing to participate because they don’t spend money on other things like travel, they don’t go to restaurants that much, and they don’t buy that much.”

Mr Singer said most of his buyers were motivated by a personal or emotional connection to the artwork, rather than a specific asset class.

“It’s a by-product of their passion and interest because great art is valued,” he said.

“People really need to take an interest in it, decide to buy it, look after it and enjoy it at the same time.”

He said that people who bought significant works of art usually had other investments as well.

“They just decide maybe to buy an attachment or something that they enjoy at the same time.”

The new gallery attracts a huge crowd

A bright multi-colored building.
HOTA Gallery, worth $ 60.5 million, is currently Australia’s largest regional art gallery. (

Supplied by: HOTA

)

Australia’s newest art destination is the $ 60.5 million HOTA Gallery on the Gold Coast.

Since it opened four weeks ago, it has attracted a huge number of visitors.

CEO Kriena Gerkhe said 28,000 people have visited the gallery since its opening on May 8.

“There is no doubt that we are doing more than we expected,” said Ms Gerchke.

“So there’s definitely something in the air.

“People crave this connection to art and culture.

“You know, people were locked up and they didn’t have the opportunity to have this human connection.”

A woman stands in front of a wall with graffiti, with works of art in the foreground.
Burleigh Heads artist Tanya Blanchard with works from her latest series, Gravitation.(

Supplied by: Tanya Blanchard

)

For the artist Tanya Blanchard, this is a connection that transcends national and international borders.

“I sell a lot of my art between the states and abroad,” said Ms. Blanchard.

“I just sold two paintings to Barcelona and got a commission for someone from Germany.

“It’s an absolute blessing, I just don’t take it for granted for a second. I just love what I do. ”

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