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Covid-19 triggers spike in demand for art as Kiwis look to spend nest eggs

The Covid-19 lockdown has triggered a spark in demand for art as Kiwis aim to spice up the walls they spent so long looking at a year ago.

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Money normally spent on holidays is being funnelled elsewhere. Source: 1 NEWS

Many Kiwis are spending cash previously reserved for holidays on both nesting at home and growing nest eggs.

“I like things that make me think, I like things that make me smile, I like things that challenge preconceptions,” art collector Stephanie Post said.

Post co-directs the Auckland Art Fair and says she's seeing interest grow each year.

“A lot more younger people who are saying actually its cool to live with art, particularly if you are buying NZ artists, you actually get to know them so you’re supporting someone,” she said.

At Webbs Auction House, it's a roaring trade.

“In the last six months I’ve sold two paintings for half a million dollars a work. our top price the other night was over $300,000 for a beautiful Colin McCahon and the sale grossed over $1.3 million in one night, in two hours,” Webb’s Auction House head of art Charles Ninow said.

The spike has Kiwis questioning if they could make money from investing in art.

“Many other investments are actually getting low returns now. So, if you're looking to put your money into a term deposit that might give you 0.8 or a per cent, so you're not sacrificing that much of a yield to go and buy art,” financial adviser Martin Hawkes said.

“I think a big part of this is the lack of overseas holidays, that’s not being spent and then money burns a hole in people's wallets.”

Experts say a hot market is a win for everyone

“They’re great for artists because if we sell art for a higher price, its more money for them. They’re good for vendors because they get higher prices and they're also good for collectors because if we sell works for exceptional prices, it brings more amazing paintings out of the wood work by people who would only sell if they're confident they’ll achieve a good price,” Ninow said.

Those wanting to invest in art being told to start by investing time.

“If you really want to buy good art, that means going to the galleries, talking to the artists, go to the exhibitions,” Post said.