At least, that seems to be the consensus in this think piece in the New York Times, which interviewed real estate and art experts on the connection between the two markets.
When Long Island real estate developer Steven Klar first put his $100 million penthouse on West 56th Street on the market in July, he told The Times, “Art is what people are willing to pay for, and an apartment like this is like a piece of art.”
However, art valuations are not fully comparable to real estate pricing, since fine art tends to be unique, portable, non-functional and unable to be reproduced, whereas even the most gilded housing is inherently utilitarian. In other words, you can’t live in a Cezanne.
“They’re confusing price with art,” Miller Samuel president Jonathan Miller told the New York Times. “You’d think that titans of industry would be very individualistic about their acquisitions, but at the very top, there’s a herd mentality. You get one or two very large transactions that grab headlines and then it’s like a light switch goes off.”
Former Metropolitan Museum of Art curator David Kusin rejected the comparison of real estate to fine art, according to the Times. “There’s absolutely no statistical validity to it,” he said. “It’s like comparing Earth to Saturn. And I’ve been studying these markets for 18 years.” Referring to the record-breaking $88 million sale of a 15 Central Park West apartment in February, Kusin added, “if a Russian oligarch is going to spend $88 million, then somehow he has to justify it. So he says it’s more than an apartment. It’s art. That’s absolutely ridiculous.”
To put things in perspective, the priciest painting ever sold is Cezanne’s The Card Players, which traded in 2011 to the Royal Family of Qatar for $250 million.