Please note: this text may be incomplete. For more information about this OCR, view About OCR text.
AND BUILDERS' GUIDE.
NEW YOBK, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1878.
Pidjlished Weekly by
ONE YEAU, in advjince.. ..SIO.OO.
Uoiiniiunications should be addressed to
C. \V. S1VEET,
Nos. 315 AND .'147 BROADW.VV.
THE AVINTER REVIEAV.
(ri-mral h'emarhs.—The winter season is ordiiia-
rilj- a period of enforced idleiu-.ss and dulne.ss in
tlio markets of real estate, liou.se-seekers usuallj-
supplj- their wants, either in the v.nj- of hiring or
buying, during the earlj- fall, and climatic condi¬
tions hiipose an iii.superabli' i-eslraintiipon all out-
tlour ojierations connected with building. Even
tlie negotiation of niui-tgage loans is a;)!; to dwia
die to an exceedinglj- siiuiU voluuie diii-iiig thi.s
sea.son, the bulk of these transaetions being coii-
.siiiiiiiiated in the s[)riiig and .'"all. Tbe excep¬
tional climatic conditions of tbe present .season,
tiiougli highlj- favorable to tbe pro.secutioii of
out-dour work, have wrought no exception to the
estalilished rule. Advantage has been talcon of the
mild, open winter to hurry forward the comple¬
tion of work previously commenced, but the num- ;
ber of new projections has been quite insignificant '
and entirely disproportioned to the favorable op- !
portiinities which tbe season has presented. From \
the opening of the building season in the spring
of 1877 until the early full there w-ere plentiful ■
indications of a wholesome and substantial revi- |
val of the best real estate interests. These signs
abounded ui all the various depurtiiient-s of real :
•e.-^tate activitj-, and v/ere represented not onlj- in .
varied and extensive projei^tions by builders," but
in-such a liberal response from the public in the!
way of purchasing, that foundation was alforded
for strong hopes of a complete rehabilitation of !
the real estate market. '
Tbe.se favorable auguries, however, v.ere '
docined to be speedily and suddenly blighted. ;
With the reassembling of Congress in tlie fall, the '
early agitation of the currency and turill iiues- '
tions had tho elTcct of unsettling business calcula¬
tions, and the tremor of uncertainty and timiditj-
was ijuickly communicated to the sensitive pur- '
chasers of real estate. Though buyers still con- '
tinned to present themselves, their minds seemed '
to be pervaded with such uneasiness and iiideHii-
iteness with regard to values, that it became difli.
cult to elicit offers for property at all in accord
-with builders' expectations. Consequentlj-, the
pa.st season has witnessed a vei-j- marked ce.s-
.sation or rather suspension of tho buying demand,
as well as a considerable curtailment of building
projection. It is idle to e.-^pect a true and lasting
revival in so stolid an interest as real estate, -^vhile
two such delicate subjects as tb.-currency and tho
tariff continue to be ueriudicaiiy tampered with
The physical and local conditions present in
the real estate market were never more favorable
for a permanent uud healthj^ revival of legiti^ .
mate interests than at the present time. All spee-
-ulative characteristics have entirely departed,
and the speciilalors of tlu.- la.st great period have
almost to a man been relieved of their uniiiaiiaga-
ble burdens of heavily uiortgagerl vacant prop¬
ertj- bj' foreclo.sui-e sale.-?, and the mortgagees,
who have so uiuvillinj^ly as.suiiied these burden's
are (luite ready and eager to be relieved in turn,
even at tho low prices wliieh have lately been es¬
tablished as the ruling ones.
No more inviting oppoi-tuuitj- than the present
can be expected in the future history of this eity
for embark ing in sound enterprises coiiiiected
with real estate. In ail but Hie most e.\clnsive
and fa.sbioiuible loe;ilitii-s, laud eaii be bought for
inoiiev almost at tbe piiivbaser's valuation, or, at
anj- rate, on terms quito below intrinsic value.
Labor ami malerials :ire offered iu Ihe most
abundant supply, at prices closely appi-o.\.inuitiiig,
if not really ranging below aute-war staiubirils.
.Vt the .same time ilu-i c i.s manifest a vory wide
spread and sincere (ii.sp,..-iti(in to pnrclia.-c eligible
residence luoperty as well as sound inve.-;io!eiit
lu-oiiertj', provided values can be clearly .•■iul aii-
Muu-itatively li.Ked and established, and Ibe chance
of further depreciation can be averted. U iiiaj-
be coidideutlj- slated of tb.- real estate interesls of
this city that they bav..; swung tpiite cle:ir of the
general entaiiglenieiit ol di.sastei-, and can be
berearter affected onlv b\- liie action of speciti<;
causes, siu-li as unfavorable liiianeial .-r.id ti.scal
legislation or the failure of rapid transit schemes.
There can, however, be no hearty or reliable revi¬
val of this inlerest until the politicians can be pre
vailed upon to take their unholj- bunds oil' vital
subjects like the curreiiej- aud the tarilL It is
possible that the business interests of this
countrj- inaj- be able to adapt them.selves
to almost uiij- unit of value, if one
could onlj- be permauontlj- established with a
reii.soimble prospect of prolonged nuiintenance—
whether that unit be gold, .silver, nickel or pew¬
ter. As we have heretofore accommodated our¬
selves to a .standard of paper luonej-, it might be
as.sunied that we would be able to adapt ourselves
also to a currencj- of dam shells. But if this
standard of currencj' is changed and exchanged,
taiiipered and pottered with, it will require no
prophet or political economist to come from
abroad to tell us that business transactions w-ill
be clogged with dilliculties, and in all likelihood
result in chronic disaster. Even if we are des¬
tined to be compelled to adapt our commercial
dealings to the standard of a d(;based silver dol¬
lar, it will probablj- be more w-liolesome for the
general interests of the public to iiave this con¬
clusion established as a finalitj-, rather than to
compel business men to grope their waj- from
J-ear to j-ear in darkness and uncertuintj-. VA'hat-
ever unit maj' be tlnnllj-adopted, it is certain that
its purchasing power will be measured strict !j-
bj- the gold standard, just as the greenba<"k has
been measured for tho last fifteen j-ears, and that
the silver dollar of our fathers will purchase no
more in the markets of this countrj- or of the
world than its exact value in gold, Howev-er
sensitively and painfullj- financial and commer¬
cial interests at large maj- be affeotod, it is likely
that the real estate interests of this city will
quickly adjust themselves to any revised stand¬
ard -which may be set up. The demoralization
I and disorder incident to this change which maj-
j be manifest for a time in general business circles,
j cannot fail to be piussiuglj- reflected in the niar-
; kets of real estate, Auj' prolongntioii of de-
1 in-cssion will certainlj- openite to cheek active
I dealings. This is the greatest misfortune which
I niaj- happen to our specialtj-.
We c:iii searcclj- expect auj- further decline in
I existing or nominally current prices since thej-
I are esteemed to represent bottom or bed-rock
j values. The non-success of the ciirrencj- uieas-
j ni-es ii«pw being agitated maj- not induce a rise in
j the values of real estate, nor do we believe that
I their success will be marked with anj- .serious or
! precipitate decline iu values. The worst result to
j be apfirebeiided by real estate owners is a ]iro-
longeil period of uusaleableiiess. which works as
sure di.sa.sler to this interest; as a specitie decline
that may lead to actual sales. The long holding
of le.il estate on a deprcs.st-d or declining market
invohes tbe owner in heavy expenses of interest,
ta.xe.s and ai.se.s.sineiits, which can onlj* be restored
to liim by i-'iutinuing to hold the pi-opertj- until
afti'i-nM-niiet-atioii has set in, and a marked ad
Vance in prices been reaii/.ed. If a .satisfactory
disposition of the cuireiu-j- question could be
made at the [iresent time, the indicitions are un-
nii.stakeable that an activitj' in legitimate real
e.state operations—such, we mean, as the wide
spread impi-oveiiieiit of vacant propertj-, would
imniediatelj- ensue: and afford the basis
for an ultimate enhaneenieiit of prices. AA'e will
venture no iiieilictionasto the future i.s.sue of this
great iiuestion, nor do we feel called upon to
further discuss its merit.s. I'o .summarize the
general condition in the real estate nuu-ket, we
would .sjij- that the three mill-stones, which have
heretofore hung .«o heavilj- upon the neck of real
estate interests nml blighted their prosperitj-, to
w-it: The lack of rapid transit, the lack of prompt
and satisfactorj- action on tho currencj- question,
and the lack of a sound and beneficial revival of
the general business interests of the countrj- are
The finst is relaxing its hold and is likelj- soon
to be disengaged entirelj-, and placed in the most
satisfactorj- condition and relationship with the
vital interests we reiiresent.
The other two remain as veritable and insuper¬
able clogs to the full and free assertion of healthy
activitj- in land interests.
Rents.—The season now under consideration af¬
fords but few data for comment in this depart¬
ment. In a iiassing review of it, however, wo
would s;ij' that there has been no increased sup¬
ply of rental properties. Most of the new struc¬
tures now being finished are intended exclusivelj-
for Side, and tho demand for renting fof the past
two seasons, to wit: the spring and fall of LS77,
was sufiicient to absorb all vacant premises. It
w-ouid hardlj- be fair to say that the rents realized
were iu all cases satisfactory to the landlords.
Perhaps it would be too much to expect in times
like these, and in view of the enormous oppression
of real estate by taxation, that any rents that
ooiild be realized with security would be satisfac¬
tory to tho landlords. It is certain that the hard
times have affected tbe tenant class in tho most
comprehensive and ramified directions. Even