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Art and apartments

Photograph Vancouver by Marc M on 500px

Image Source: Vancouver by Marc M on 500px

According to a recent Bloomberg article, this is where the rich are putting their money today:

“The two greatest stores of wealth internationally today is contemporary art….. and I don’t mean that as a joke, I mean that as a serious asset class,” said Fink. “And two, the other store of wealth today is apartments in Manhattan, apartments in Vancouver, in London.”

In case you wondering, Laurence Fink is the founder and CEO of BlackRock Inc., which today is the largest asset manager in the world. They have over $4.77 trillion in assets under management according to their website. That’s a mind boggling number.

And if you read the Bloomberg article cited above, you’ll see that this interest in both art and apartments represents a shift away from gold as the de facto safe haven.

“Historically gold was a great instrument for storing of wealth,” the chairman of BlackRock Inc. said at a conference in Singapore on Tuesday. “Gold has lost its luster and there’s other mechanisms in which you can store wealth that are inflation-adjusted.”

What’s interesting and probably most relevant to the Architect This City community though is this investment focus on apartments.

When people talk about a possible housing bubble in Canada they often cite house prices to median household income as a key ratio. The question then becomes: How can house prices be such a high multiple relative to local incomes?

That’s relevant, but it’s not the entire story for cities like New York, London, and Vancouver. That ratio alone assumes that real estate isn’t a global investment vehicle. And for some people people it is exactly that.

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