Art Market Confidence Is Up, Sales Come Next
The hint of a recovery we got in the first half of 2009 has fallen off a bit,according to Art Price's Art Market Confidence Index. The latest report suggests that art prices have dropped 37 percent since January 1, 2008, when the art market first showed signs of weakness. But, there are some indications that it's headed in the right direction over all. Art Price does state that the third quarter is almost always weak. Only 12 percent of auction lots sold during all third quarters over the past decade, and low sales volumes tend to mean low prices.
The art market appears to have hit its worst point in the first quarter of this year, when art prices were down 38 percent over the previous 15 months. Values plunged to 2004 levels, and spectators figured that conditions would only get worse. Prices edged up 1.2 percent after the first quarter, but a slow summer didn't yield any real progress.
Art Price sees the November results as promising, with seasonally adjusted growth for the Post-War period up 2.1 percent since March and the Old Masters picking up 4.5 percent. And, for the past two quarters, only 38 percent of lots failed to sell, and it looks like October and November will stay consistent with that result.
More than anything else, the numbers suggest that confidence is increasing -- which is the first step in a recovery.