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Real Estate Record
AND BUILDERS' GUIDE.
NEW YORK, SATUUDAY. NOVEMBER 26, 1881.
Published Weekly by The
Real Estate Record Association
OIVE YEAR, in adrance.....$6.00
Oommunications should he addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 137 Broadway.
J. T. LINDSBY. Busmess Manager.
The recent bank failures, and the uncer¬
tainty as to what Secretary Folger will do,
have put a damper upon the stock niarket for
the past week. Prices went off two or three
points on the active stocks, and there is
nothing in the immediate future to give the
bulls hope of a very strong market. This
condition of affairs has its influence upon
the real estate market, which is not so active
as it would be if stocks were booming in
Wall street; but it is safe to predict that
whoever buys stocks at the prices now pre¬
vailing, will be able to sell ;it higher figures
during January and February.
Some of the members of the West Side
Association would like to have horse cars
on the Boulevard for the accommodation of
residents in that region. But until a gene¬
ral law is passed, no more surface roads can
be constructed, and the owners of the exist¬
ing monopolies have so far defeated all at¬
tempts to pass a general law. There is some
talk of introducing in New York tie electric
elevated road which has proved a partial suc¬
cess in Paris and Berlin, but doubtless the ex-
isting_elevated road monopolies will prevent
that from being tested for some time to
come. It would be a pity to put horse cars
on the Boulevard.
The proposition to buUd a new Stock
Exchange on Broadway and Battery place,
is naturally of a good deal of interest to real
estate investors. An immense building
overlooking the Battery, which would in¬
volve a Stock Exchange, a bank, a trust
company, safe deposit vaults, a depot for the
Metropolitan road, and offices for wires
running to every centre of population in the
world, would necessarily be a very imposing
edifice. It would challenge comparison with
the Produce Exchange just across the street,
and would make populous that portion of
the city which was first settled, and which
has the greatest historical interest. So far,
the enterprise seems to be a menace to the
Stock Exchange for not allowing Jay Gould
to do as he pleases in the matter of the ele¬
vated roads. There is no doubt but what
Sage. Field and Gould cculd easily raise the
money, but New York is as yet hardly big
enough to support two immense exchanges.
The existing Exchange has more members
than the Bourse of Paris and the Stock Ex¬
change of London combined, and while it is
very clear that New York is destined to be a
vastly greater centre for financial transac¬
tions than it has been in the past, yet there
is hardly room for another vastly greater
Stock Exchange as yet. It is, however, sig¬
nificant that the neighborhood of the Bat¬
tery should be selected as the site for so
many commercial exchanges. The elevated
roads have actually pushed business down
the island instead of drawing it further up¬
town. Had there been no elevated roads,
if a new Stock Exchange was mooted, the
site wotild probably be on Madison Square,
or perhaps as high up as Thirty-fourth
street and Broadway.
ABOUT TITLES TO REALTY.
The suit before Judge Larremore respect¬
ing the title to certain property on the old
Mainpost road leading to Harlem, and which
embraces lots on Lexington and Third
avenues, in the neighborhood of Thirty-
seventh street, shows how defective and
unnecessarily insecure are titles to real
estate. This case involves nine acres of
land in a very valuable part of New York.
It seems that in 1828 a mortgage was put on
this property of $6,000. Then the land was
sold to different persons, and finally fell into
the hands of a non-resident Englishman, who
died without issue. The holder of the
mortgage foreclosed, secured the mortgaged
property by a foreclosed title, and since then
the vacant lands have been covered with
houses. And now comes forward a distant
relative of the original mortgagor of the
property, and demands a return of the estate
to her with all its valuable improvements.
There are, it seems, some twenty defendants
who have to fee lawyers and fight in the
courts for the property they have purchased
and improved in good faith.
It is an anomaly in every way for a title
in land to be less secure than say in a tele¬
graph company. An investor buys a hun¬
dred shares of Western Union; his broker
delivers them the very next day, there is no
searching for title, no expense beyond the
ordinary brokerage, and yet telegraph prop¬
erty consists in poles and wires and hired
offices scattered all over the country. There
would seem to be thousands of difficulties
connected with the holding of such property
compared with a tangible piece of ground
on any part of the earths surface. No prop¬
erty is so solid, so difficult to make away
with,'as houses and lands. Yet, owing to
laws brought down to us from a barbarous
past, the conveyancing of real estate is sur¬
rounded with embarrassments. Titles have
to be searched and risks taken not called for
in any other kind of property.
In the nature of things, there is no neces¬
sity for this insecurity. In Australia and
New South Wales, under the operation of
what is known as the Torrens act, real
estate is subject ^to a government registry,
which secures a perfect title and involves
no more loss of time or expense than the
transfer of an equal amount of stock in a
railway company. There is no need of the
purchaser taking any more precautions than
if he bought a government bond or any of
the securities on the stock list.
In Great Britain, matters are still worse
k than they are here; but during tho present
year an effort has been made to simplify
and improve the practice of conveyancing.
It is called " The conveyancing and real
property act of 1881." Its intent'is merely
to get rid of tLe utterly preposterous legal
jargon employed in transferring a piece of
property from one person to another.
Thousands of words are used where tens
would be sufficient to declare the object of
the instrument. The exasperating feature
of this matter is, that no relief is possible.
The lawyer is supreme in the Legislature
and he makes laws to promote litigation.
It would add 50 per cent, to the price of real
estate the country over, if the uncertainties
of title and the possible litigation involved
in the transfer of real estate were done
THE CONDITION OF THINGS.
The New York stock market does not rep¬
resent the country. 'Banking and stock
circles are timid and bearish, and from the
tone of the discussions in the financial
journals, one would suppose the country is
going to the dogs. As a matter of fact,
the condition of trade was never so satis¬
factory. The sales are the largest ever
known in the history of the country, the
prices asked and received are profitable,
while failures to pay are almost unknown.
In the yearly meetings of the various manu¬
facturing companies which have been held
recently, it was found that fewer debts were
unpaid this year than in any previous year.
The loss from bankruptcies and bad debts
was scarcely worth mentioning in the bal¬
The fact is, the Wall street operators had
their harvest in the fall of '79 and '80, and
in the spring of '81. It is the mercantile
public which is now catching the favoring
gales, as stocks have gone so high they
cannot go higher. The great trading class
are now adding to their bank accounts,
while the laboring people, who receive and
spend more money than all other classes put
together, were never so well to do. To com¬
plete the circle, real estate is next in order.
The animation at the recent Brooklyn sale
of Prospect Park lots is the first evidence of
any extra interest in real estate. It is only
a question of time when the movement will
commence. Some dealers expect it in mid¬
winter, others in the late spring, but it may
be posponed for a year or two. While
stocks are high, therefore, and general busi¬
ness never better, there are no signs of any
unusual excitement in real estate.
Heroic remedies must be used to relieve
Broadway of the confusion occasioned by its
crowded vehicles. Not only must huge
trucks be interdicted during business hours,
but the stages and omnibusses should be en¬
tirely abolished. They are clearly out of
place on Broadway and are no longer neces¬
sary, as the street cars and elevated roads
reach every point that the omnibusses do.
It may be that a branch from the Metropoli¬
tan Elevated should be run to Fulton Ferry.