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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 22, no. 545: August 24, 1878

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS^ GUIDE. Vol. XXn. NEW YORK, SATÜRDAY, AUGUST 24,1878. No. 545. Published Weekly by TER3IS. ONE YEAR. in advance....810.00. Communications should be addressed to C. %V. SWEET, Nos. ;i45 AXD 347 Broadway SUMMER REVIEW. The summer season is usually one of activitj- in construction, but of utter barrenness in all the other exhibitions of the real estate mai'ket. For some reason, which can be more or less satisfactor¬ ily defined, the volume of building projection dur¬ ing the past season was considerably smaller than that of the corresponding period of last year. This failing off seems to be more in respect to pri¬ vate dwellings and the medium class of apart¬ ment houses, thau in respect to larger structure.s. The projection of mainmoth edifices, such as apartment hoteis, office buildings aud ware¬ houses has become quite a prominent feature of the present season, and these constitute decidedly the greater proportiou, as well iu number as i» value, of the current business. The failing off in the projection of private d%vellings may be at- tributed in part to the signal and disastrous fail¬ ure of many building loau projects exploited dur¬ ing the past few yeai-s, the effect of which has been to deter capitalists fi'om embarkiug money in this class of venture. Owing to unequal com¬ petition with these building loan projectore, and to the over-production of inferior houses which has thus resulted, legitimate builders have found peculiar difSculty in pursuing their calling. At the same time, the intolerable bürden of taxation, which shows no diminution or sign of diminish¬ ing, eontinues to operate as a dead weight upon the best real estate interests of the city. It is idle to expect that any large or new investments will be made in unimproved real estate or iu the raoderate grade of improved property, until this bürden has been taken off or more fairly adjusted. "VVith untaxabie government securities on the oue band—even though paying but a sniall rate of in¬ terest, and heavily taxed real estate on the other band, whose income is not always the most reli¬ able in times like these, the investing public will probably continue to prefer the former, Rents.—The initial step iu all real estate calcu¬ lations must ever be possible rental production, and for that reason this branch of the market has continued to monopolize the interest of the real estate public to a larger extent than any other. The hands on this dial are the surest indices of the definite and true valuation which must ulti- mately be placed upou all classes of property. The stimulatiug and buoyant effect which the Centennial exerted two yeare ago upon rental valuations has ai; lexigth subsided into a direct antithesis. During the present season, that is süice May 1, a conditiou of inarked depression and demoralization has beeü apparent iu nearly all classes of rental propertry, owing doubtless in a great measure to the absence of a large number of our Citizens in attendance upon the Paris Expo¬ sition, and also .1». the^ ciuniüative -and conoeiK. trat<;d misfortunes of those obliged to stay at home. As compared with tho rents realized two years ago, it would be .safe to say that an average decline has been established of fully 50 per cent., and in some exceptional cases even a larger per¬ centage of depreciation has been determiued. The result of last spring's business in renting was not nt all satisfactory to hindlords, as the renting rates close to the llrst of May became merely nominal and unquotable. In a word, landlords were obliged to accept the offers of solvent tenants, and with ever so good a disposition to do so, all were not able to dispose of their properties, empty houses being more numerous this season than ever before since the panic. This latest de¬ cline in demand and rents constitutes a pi>culiar and crushing hanL«hip to landlords at large, since they are culled ni>on to respond to quite as lurge a measure of taxation as they were in the prosperous times, while their ability to meet such demands bas been inconceivably and irretriev- ablj' lesseued. The extraordinary misfortunes through which the holders of rented property have been obliged to pass during the present season, .should find a .suitable and emphatic expression. The city authorities, and the Legis!atureat Albniiy, should be energetically impres-sed with the vital and imperative necessity of reducing the taxation of this city or of apportioning it upon other objects so that real estate may experience snbstantial and much needed relief. Without such reniedial action, promptly and effeetually taken, the owner- ship of even free and clear property will become unprofitable and unuesirable, while the owner- ship of mortgaged property will be deemed a misfoi-tune of the first niagnitude. The scale of rents that was established for the present year, is without doubt the lowest that is likely to be recorded during the pre-sent revulsion. From this time forth, in tbe absence of any great unforeseen calamity, proiierty ownei's can make reasonably safe calculations with regard to the income likely to be derived from property, and real estate values may thus be expected to crystallize into permanent forms. The scarcity of the lowest priced houses eon¬ tinues to be keenly feit, and aniong the finnest rents are those which ränge between eight and tweive hundred dollare. The heaviest decline has taken place iu rents above tweive hundred dollars, aud particularly in those from fifteen huudrsd to twenty-five hundred, showing how acutely the best portion of our middle class popu¬ lation is now feeling the pressure of the times. Sales.—During the past three months no very extensive or noteworthy ti'ansactions have oc¬ eurred. The market in all its bearings, particu¬ larly in the department of sales, is settling down into an extremely legitimate and conservative conditiou, presenting as it does a phase of füllest preparation for the revival of prosperity. Al¬ most to a man the prominent speculators of the last great era iave been weeded out, many having lately bastened to avail themselves of the benefit of the bankrupt law whüo itmay be had. Great anxiety has been awakened in the community by the appearance of so many notices of bankruptcy among real ^tate men. Well informed persons neai jacarcely^be. told that the-majörityt>f these failures, though recently reported, are merely remnauts or long delayed effects of the great panic of 1S7.3; and as .such their offlcial pnblieation was certainly no news, hardly a .surprise. The sjjec- ulative lots which %vere once held by these parties, now bankrupt, liave gradually pa-ssefl into the hands of .strong boldei-s, aud thus liecome released from the entanglements of heavy mortgages. These properties are held clear and free by their present oivnei-s, and may in time be oßered for thesußrages of the buying public. The mai-ket is waiting patiently in anticipation of such events, There can be no activity in building until lot owners have made up the"ir minds to accept the present Situation and seil their lands to solvent and legitimate buildei's at such prices as they can justly and reasonablj- afford to pay. The offer¬ ing of a few hundred lots at the present time, in those seetions of the city whi^h are shortly to be reached by rapid trausit, would no doubt find a prompt response among good buiMers, and the ef¬ fect would be to speedily change the surface con¬ ditions of the real estate market. As great a boou as rapid trausit promises to be, it is fouud iu practice to be associated with cer¬ tain evil.s. As none of these are beyond the reach of remedy, it is to be hoped that their correction will be promptly atteuded to so that this great and indispensable appliance of city life may give no offense, aud stand unchallenged before the Com¬ munity. The principal complaint is in reference to the rattle and noise of moving trains; but we im- agine that this complaint has its origin in the fact that this particular noise is novel, and has been sud¬ denly Sprung upon the community. The present generation is probably fast forgetting the thun- dering diu that the Broadway omnibuses made when Broadway was paved with cobble stcnes, and the thoroughfare was crowded with these lumbering vehicles in coutiuuous procession, and from curb to curb. Notwithstanding the deafen- iug rucket thus made, Broadway then was the Chief, if not the only seat of great retail busi¬ ness, and when the hubbub was at its highest, Broadway continued to be the seat of residence of wealthy and fashionable faniilies, while the sti-eets intei'secting it were especially desired and appropriated for first-class private residences. It is unwarrautable to suppose, in the first place, that the noise now made by the moving trains is incuruble and in the next place after it has been reduced to its minimum, that it will continue to occasion the offense that now so disagreeablypre vails about it. Probably in les than a year it will be a general wonder that such an outcry of com¬ plaint was ever raised. Still the Standard objeetions which have been raised to rapid transit, in the daily press, have their weight with impulsive and mercurial peo¬ ple. and a great many capitalists and persons ad- dicted to real estate investment and speeulation are adopting a line of remark extremely inimical to real estate interests. Probably this is done in anticipation of being able to secure .remarkable bargains. The bürden of their refrain is that private property is so ruthlessly invaded in this counti-y that it has become dangerous to hold real estate. While New York is in a nascent and formative condition, it must be expected that. some -private interests will suffer ag vicarious