The fine art market is going through such a boom that it is only a matter of time before a painting sells for $1 billion (818 million euros), according to a new report seen by AFP Wednesday.

Driven by the record sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” to a Saudi prince for $450 million ($550 million) in November, the market is rising in a way not seen for three decades, the authoritative Artprice index said.

“The latest spectacular all-time fine art auction record… for ‘Salvator Mundi’ represents the beginning of a new era for the art market in which the next big milestone will be the $1 billion threshold,” it said.

“In the meantime, we are bound to see results between $179 million and $450 million in 2018,” it predicted.

Artprice founder Thierry Ehrmann told AFP the revival of the market after two years of falling prices was spectacular, with prices surging across the globe in the second half of the year.

“All the indicators have never been so good for 30 years,” he said, with the report suggesting everything points to “firm and durable growth”.

Competition for the very best artworks between top museums — with more and more being built across the globe — was also fuelling the boom.

“The real motor of the market’s growth is unquestionably the museum industry,” Artprice said. Read more