With the rise in popularity of mid-century modern furniture and simplified home decor designs, elaborate French and English furniture has gone out of style. Auction prices for antique furniture have dropped to levels not seen since the late 1970s. While this is unfortunate news if you are trying to sell your investments, it’s an excellent time to start buying if you have have ever wanted to invest in antique furniture.
What is driving down antique furniture prices? One possibility is changing taste in home decor. In an interview at Bloomberg.com, Mark Jacoby, the president and partner of the New York antiques store Philip Colleck states that “It wasn’t really until after 9/11 that there was a big shift in taste towards mid-century modern. Glass-clad structures with floor-to-ceiling windows don’t allow for furniture placement against their exterior walls. And they have these high ceilings, with almost loft-like interiors, and I think that’s helped drive the switch to modernist furniture and the contemporary art market, as well.”
Another possibility for the change in market values is the change in demographics. Many of the baby boomers who could afford to buy luxury antiques decades ago are passing away, and their heirs are reluctant to hold on to their parents’ furniture. They are opting to sell, thus flooding the market with antique furniture and driving prices down.
Antique sellers are aware of this change in the market. They are adapting and adjusting to fit the changing needs of buyers. More sellers are now focusing on “statement pieces”. These are singular high value items that collectors may want to use to create a focal point in their home, or to enhance their existing decor.
As with all investments, the tide will turn and prices will improve. For investors, this is the perfect time to invest in antique furniture. Before you take the plunge, check out our advice for investing in antiques by clicking here.