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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 21, no. 531: May 18, 1878

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. YoL. XXI. NEW YOEK, SATUEDAY, MAY 18, 1878. No. 531. Published Weekly by Cfje Beal EstateSecorbi^ssocmtton. TERMS. ONE YEAR, in advance....SIO.OO. I'ommunications should be addressed to C. \V. SWEET, Nos. 3-15 AXD 347 Bkoadwav. SPRING REVIEW. The marked couditiou of real estate atlaii-s to¬ day, is still that of transition. Having passed through storm and tribulation, these interests have yet to moor themselves iu a safe and com¬ fortable harbor. Although problems that once hung menacingly and embarrassingly over the market have resolved themselves into perma¬ nent and active conditions, and, although the reaction from the jieriod of highest inflation is now- comple'.e, and all the relations of these inter¬ ests are steadily settling down iuto legitimate and conservative lines, yet a general survey of the situation fails to inspire us %vith conviction that the market has reached a consistent and w-ell ad¬ justed condition of stability. Rapid transit has beeu practically attained, specie payments are virtually resumed, and the general business of the country, though partak¬ ing of no speculative impulses, is still slowlj- and steadily reasserting its recuperative vitality. We will bestow on each of these topics a few pa.ssing remarks as upon issues w-hose outcomes have ceased to be speculative, and must be recog¬ nized as active and controlling forces in real estate alfairs. Rapid Transit.—This is no longer a Utopian dream, nor the subject of prophesy and contro- vei-sy, but an actual accomplished fact sus¬ ceptible of ocular demonstration. Accustomed ILS we are to abrupt and sudden changes, it must seem even to the most progressive New Yorker like a vision that the space between the Battery aud the Central Park may be travei-sed through the heart of the city in less than fifteen minutes. The ultimate realization of some such scheme of couvej-ance was never a matter of serious doubt, but its absence was such a palpable detriment to the city that the «iuestion of chief anxiety was, how long were we to be deprived of its benelicial offices i The system, as established, is likely to become a prominent physical feature of the city. Crude and imperfect as the adopted method may seem, it undoubtedlj' possesses the capacity to fullj' supply the great need of rapid locomotion. That this sj-stem will give way iu time to a more solid structm-e, and that steam locomotion will pervade and ramify over the whole surface of the island, no intelUgent person can hesitate to believe. The successful inauguration of a rapid transit system is tbe central and significant fact of tho day. Its extension, impi-ovement and utmost limit of capabilities will be quickly developed and demonstrated by our energetic and enter¬ prising population. This great fact casts a long reflection over the whole subject of our i-eal estate, since it is destined to embrace within its reach and inlluence over\- inch of territory now- comprised w-ithin the corporate limits of New- York Citj'. Experience alone can properlj' de¬ fine the nature, value and elYcct of this new- element so suddenh' projected into the arena of real estate speculation. It is certainlj' within the possibihties of this new- sj-stem of ti-avel to completelj- overturn and transform the methods and bases of calculation that have heretofore pre¬ vailed in real estate transactions. 2. Specie Resumptio.v.—The attainment of rapid transit might have furnished sufficient subject of jubilation for an entire decade as did the introduction of Crolon water. But that this great and luminous event should be associated with the prospect of the immediate resumption of specie puj-raeiits after so long a term of sus¬ pension, furnishes a twin theme for exultation w-hose chorus niaj' resound through a century. In view of tho clamor of demagogues and poli. ticians, and the suspicious outcry that was arising from various quarters of the country iu favor of continued inllation, it has been a curious nnd interesting studj- to note how steadilj- tho solid interests of the countrj- have moved in the direction of specie resumption. The powerful opposition whicii has heretofore been made to this most desirable consummation undoubtedlj- sprang from great corporations struggling with mammoth indebtedness, and from leading sp'di¬ lators who were alreadj- hopelesslj- submerged in bankruptcj'. These shrewd and skilful manipu¬ lators have sought to make it appear that this opposition arose from the laboring classes and the masses of the people or w-as conducted iu their interest nnd for their benefit. The slightest investigation serves to dispel this illusion. The wages-earning people—bj' far the largest pro¬ portion in anj- communitj-—reallj- represent the creditor class and not the debtor class, being unable to secure credit bej-ond the amount of their weeklj- stipends and their ability to respond on the following paj' daj', and as saviugs bank depositoi-3 thej- represent in large luiiiilicrs the capitalist class. Iu their representative capacities thej' are interested in receiving their paj-, whether wages cr deposits, in the best monej', that is, in money which posscss^cs the largest purchasing power. This remark will applj'to all pei-sons who work for their living, and are entitled to receive more than thej- are obliged to paj' out. The debt-ladened, the in¬ solvent, the impecunious, unproductive, and inert classes are the only ones whose interests can de¬ mand cheap monej-. We can offer no better explanation of the phenomenon of national legislators throwing tlieii- influence in the direction of continued expansion of paper money while the interests of the countrj-were naturallj'gravitating in the diicc- tioi\ of gold paj'ments, except that the live, active, potential business men, whether emploj-- ers or emploj'ed, whether capitalists of millions or only of hundreds, were silentlj- but unalter¬ ably set in the direction of resumption, while the advocates of inflation, aud the opponents of re¬ sumption, belonged entii-ely to a helpless and ineffective class of demoralized and prostrate speculators whose last spasm of vitality found an echo in Congi-ess. The neai-ness of actual re¬ sumption promises to afford us relief from all further discussion of this gi-eatlj- mooted (piestion, and to withdraw the public mind from abstruse speculations in this branch of political economj-. Probablj' before the summer pa.sses the premium on gold will be completelj* obliteratjil. The effect of this condition of things upon real estate is one of the unsolved problems. No speculations upon the subject can avail at this late moment, nor can thej-successfullj' conflict or compete with the realization of the facts of the case which must be now so near at hand. •i. Gexeral BfsiXESS.—While all speculative interests Imve suU'ered unspeakable niisfortuue during the last five j-eivrs, it is, nevertheless, a fact that during this period there has been a slow but gradual recoverj' of the best business interests of the coiiuti-j', the results of which are now be¬ ginning to reveal themselves. Tho public mind was .so taken up with prominent s[icculations dur¬ ing the hillatiou era, that those operations began to assume a somewhat legitimate character, and were being taken as indices to the prosperitj- of the countrj-. The course of these great specula¬ tions in stocks, railroads, real estate and merchan¬ dise was watched with intense cageriie.?s and anxietj-, as if the fate of the countrj- depended upon their issue. All investments of capital con¬ nected with these speculative enterprises have suffered enormous shrinkage: but so far from prostrating or ruining the business interests of the countrj-, it has been demonstrated, during the past five J-ears, that not all the active capital of the countrj- was embarked in these schemes: a goodlj- proportion of it must have been withheld and kept in such an accessible condition as to be readilj- used in new undertakings. A fair analogj- of general business recupera¬ tion is presented in our own citj- in the case of re¬ tail jobbers ordistributoi-sof goods, who hold con¬ spicuous positions on our leadingbiisines-savenues. The.'e tradesmen having proniptlj- unloaded their .stock of high-priced goods, and realized their lojses, were careful to lay in a now stock at prices which would defj- competition, and j-ield them a sure profit. This operation has been going ou at the expense of the heavy manufacturers, of their commission houses, and of such dealers as made time contrncts with the mills at fixed prices some J-ears ago. .The immense shrinkage in the val¬ ues of goods which has been a source of prolit to the retail dealer, and of untold benefit to the pub¬ lic at large, has been an intolerable hardship to the men monej- was capitali'/.ed in the mills that iiroduccd these fabrics. In like luannei-, the owner of lots capitalized at high jirices has been obliged to siilfer an enorinous loss iu order to turn them into monej- in these rcactionarj- times; while the builder who now purchases them for improve¬ ment is thus able to use them in his iiiaiiulnctured product, at a small profit, and the public are en¬ abled to secure houses at moderate prices. fhe great ground swell of our popula¬ tion is slowlj- but surelj' recovering its position of strength, solvencj- and thrift, and is thus laj-iiig a broad and deep foundation for a universal re¬ coverj' of business prosiierity throughout the land. With the reform and adjustment of our federal tariff, there will be a market found for our surplus pi-oductions in the other countries of the world, and the tide of wealth w-hit-h is sure to flow back upon us, as the proceeds of enlarged