Pricing art is one of the most subjective commercial activities attempted. If you compare it to fashion, it can be argued that branded designers (like branded artists) can command a higher premium because of the history and reputation behind the name. But oftentimes an article of clothing’s price is also influenced by the quality of materials, hand vs. factory made, scarcity and uniqueness.
There is a prevailing belief, particularly in the upper echelons of the contemporary art world, that art makes a great investment. (For a good overview see Caslon Analytics art fund note.) However, research shows that in the overwhelming majority of cases, art is neither a good nor efficient investment.
With the reincarnation of the high-end real estate market in Miami, real estate developers and brokers are discovering an important selling trick:
Original art sells real estate.
According to the Miami Herald, sellers of high-end real estate are responding to wealthy buyers' demands (Brazilians, Italians, Russians) to be immersed in beautiful, original art. Quoting the head of Zilbert International Realty,
The idea is that the second you arrive at your building, this is the theme: that art is important."
For developers, art adds to the value of real estate,
Every building I can think of that has invested in extraordinary art in their public areas has never had a problem selling and never had a problem reselling... [These buildings] tend to have the highest market value." - Mark Zilbert
The article provides as example The Bond, a 44-story condo on Brickell Avenue, whose developers installed a series of limited edition six-foot-tall, black-and-white photos of London in the 1960's and 1970's. As one of the customers was quoted:
The photos were the first thing I saw. [I thought] if this is how the building is going to be, it's gorgeous."
This ties back to the benefits and reasons to buy original art. If developers are using art to say something about the project and the people who will live there, on a smaller, more personal scale, what can having original art in your environment say about you?