With the economic climate improving over the past few months, investors are spoiled for choice as far as investment products are concerned. Investing in art and antiques is an option that a number of investors are exploring. Professionals who are expert in such investments have sprung up in Hong Kong to take advantage of the growing market. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Art and Antiques Survey showed that art and antiques prices continue to rise, as more buyers turn to the market as an alternative investment. RICS is a British-based surveyor and research house which tracks the arts and antiques market. The survey showed that 26 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a rise in art and antique prices, up from 24 per cent the previous quarter. Prices are rising as consumers increasingly view art and antiques as tangible assets which perform better than other forms of investments. The popularity of art and antiques is also being felt at auctions, with 62 per cent of surveyors reporting a rise in attendees to auction houses over the past three months, up from 47 per cent. The RICS's survey also showed that precious metals continue to command historically high prices and, as a result, the silver and jewellery sectors outperformed other subsectors. Fifty five per cent more surveyors reported silver prices rising, down slightly from a net balance of 58 plus during the previous three months. Most other sections of the market reported increases, with only contemporary art recording a negative price balance. Over the next 12 months surveyors predict demand will outstrip supply, although the imbalance between the two is narrowing. Forty four per cent more surveyors expect demand to increase rather than decrease, while a net balance of 36 per cent expect an increase in supply. RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn says: 'The British art and antiques market is buoyant, as buyers continue to invest in material assets during uncertain economic times.' However, he says growing markets, such as Hong Kong and the mainland, are attracting attention from surveyors and art dealers. Commenting on Asia's arts and antiques market, RICS chairman David Faulkner says: 'Asia in general, and Hong Kong in particular, is now a major centre for Asian and Western art and antiques. The increasing number of major art exhibitions and auctions of modern and historic pieces has led to record prices being achieved. The increasing demand from China, in terms of money available to buy art and also the desire of Chinese collectors to buy quality items at the higher end of the value chain, means that the sector is set to grow further in Hong Kong.'