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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 21, no. 518: February 16, 1878

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Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XXI. NEW YOBK, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1878. No. 518. Pidjlished Weekly by Cljc|Jcal(!Bstcvtc|.lc«rb^ssonattou. TER3IS. 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 and in tlio markets of real estate, 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. ' 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 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 by Congress. 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.- 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 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 to this interest; as a specitie decline that may lead to actual sales. The long holding of estate on a or declining market invohes tbe owner in heavy expenses of interest, ta.xe.s and, 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 thus situated. 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