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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 22, no. 558: November 23, 1878

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. xxn. NEW YORK, SATÜRDAY, NOVEMBER 23,1878. No. 558. Published Weekly by C^c %ml (BsMt Secortr ^ssodation. TERMS. ONE YEAR, in advance___SlO.OO. Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, Nos. 345 ASD 347 Broadway NATIONALITIES IN REAL ESTATE. There isa common misuiiderstandiug prevalent in respect to the distribution of real er^tate titles in this city. We will venture to .say, that it is ordinarily supposed by persons who cousider themselves well iuformed thata large majority of titles are concentrated in a few very wealthy por- Bons, and that these persons are principally Amer¬ icaus. Both of these assumptions are contrary to fact. There are enrolled on the tax books about one hundred and fifty thousand separate pieces of property, which are owned by about twenty-five thoasand individuals or estates. Of this number probably less than one hundred ownerships may be classified as extremely wealthy, or as miUion¬ aire ownerships. Probably to the extent of four or five thousand tho ownerehips may be fouud among persons ot alHuent means. Bufc by a very large majority the titles, say to the extent of over twentj^ thousand are distributed among those whose fortunes coiisist principally, if not entirely, of the property thus owned, whose dependenee for income and livelihood is upou the resuits derived from this property. Nearly the whole of this number may be set down a-s owners of single pieces of properfcy, which represent the saviugs of thrifty, laborious aud self-denying lives, the po.s.session of which is cherished as the sole means of providing for the infirmity of old age, and of besfcowing an inheritance upon surviving children. To what extent these individual ownere of Single parcels have suffered by the sbrinkage of the times, and the severe conditions>f, real estate in¬ vestment, none know better than themselves, and, undoubtedly, a great many have .been unavoid- ably and relentlessly shaken out of their little possessions. To suppose that any great number of these own¬ erships are fco be found among Americans, would be to wander wide of the truth, inasmueh as nat- uralized owners greatly outnumber native born. Our present purpose is to call attention to the principal nationalities represented in our real es¬ tate titles, and to their distinctive characteristics. American.—The mercurial and restless dispo¬ sition of the American Citizen instructively nian- ifests itself in his treatment of real estate. Prone to speculafcion as the mofch is to fly infco the flame, he is apfc to regard real estafce as a mere foot-ball to be tossed aboufc, wheu its bandying will result in profit, but to be left severely alone wheii it is incapable of profitable manipulation. Many sen¬ sible and prosperous Americans shun realestate upon principle, believing ifc fco be an unprofifcable, dangerous and vexatious Investment, denying themselves the small indulgence of owning their residences and business establishments, preferring to play the role of tenant rafcber than thatof p wner or landlord. Another class, more venfcqre- some and, we may say, more sagacious, make ifc a prime ambition to acquire their residences aud business establishments, to hold them free from debt and, when it can be legally doue, to place them out of the reach of business niis- fortuue.s. The latter is the type of a fair major¬ ity of thrifty Americaus. There is another, nearest akin to the American .siieculator, those who are contented with the name of owning property which in reality is so heavily mortgaged as to leave such owuership but a pretence and shadow. This class are apfc to be found among the butterflies of fashion, a flashy, reckless seiis,a- tional type of American, who seeks a happy life, even though a short one, aud is satisfied to make a conspicuous display upon borrowed means. The highly developed individuality of Ameri¬ caus as well as their natural instinct of property rights eminently fit them to become the owners of property. The avoidance of mere speculative ventures aud fche cultivation of souud real estate invesfcmenfc ou the part of intelligent Americans, would greatly teud to promote the establishment of a just uud equitable system of taxation, whereby the seandal and reproacb of most op¬ pressive burdens might be takeu away from real estate ownership. iRiSH.—The largest di.sfcribution of real estate titles is aiuoug thrifty aud industrious Irish Citi¬ zens. Iu a greater degree thau may be said of auy other foreign born Citizens the Irish come to US pos.sessed with au instinctive love of property aud an untiriugambition to acquire it. The fort- itude, courage aud euergy of his nature ineline the Citizen of this type to .seek employment iu the heroic laboi-s of contracting aud engiueering and generally to embark in buildiug Operations, in which he evinces special aptitude and in which he sometimes acijuires marked excellence. ^lany a worthy owuer of comfortable properties in this city commenced life as a cellar-digger, a hod- carrier or street confcracfcor and by sheer force of characfcer has raised him<5elf to fche position of a land owner and a tax-pa^'er. The traditions of Irish hüstory foster an extrav¬ agant estimate of the iiotency and supei-iorifcy of land invesfcmenfc, while the natural traits of the Irish character endow ifc wifch peculiar fifcness for real estate ownership. The labor incident to the improvement and maintenance of property is that with which the Irishman is generally the most familiär. There are other conspicuous tmitsof Irish char¬ acfcer which militate against the successful culti¬ vation of real estate ownership. They are apt to be too sanguine, credulous, impulsive and obsti¬ nate in gratifying their inordinate ambition to become owners of property. They are not always careful enough to gauge their undertakings ac¬ cording to their abilities ; to cut their garments according to the existing cloth. For the sake of enjoying a precarious distinction of land ownei-ship, they are sometimes induced to in¬ cur unwarrantable and exhaustive burdens of debt. This failing is too common a character¬ istic of -the Investors of this race. Though there are exceptions, and many notable ones, of Irish owners who eschew indebtedness en¬ tirely, holding their investments in real estate absolutely free and clear of any lien or encum¬ brance, ifc is tobe regrefcfced that there are so many othei-s who have deliberately and rather reck- lessly assumeil the bürden of propertj- in which the etiuity of redemption was inappreciably small. The dauntless and heroic courage which enables the Irishman to triumph over physical obstacles cannot successfuUy avaii him in battling with the tremeudous odds of excessive and over- due mortgages. It is far better to own one piece of property free and clear than to have the name of owning a score of pieces that are heavily mortgaged, aud liable with little warning to slip from the grasp. This predoiuinaat and insatiable greed for the acquisition of properfcy maj- lie regarded as one of the excellences of the Irish character. When properly directed and controlled by education in correct principles of real estate investment, it will qualify the race to fill the measure of an en¬ ligbtened and exalted citizenship commensurate with their iiuuierical importance in our popula¬ tion, and with their conspicuous representation oii_ the tax books of the city. ' Gekman.—Our German fellow-citizens maüifest less of the property instinct than do the Irish, be¬ ing more fitful, nomadic and visiouarj'. But when¬ ever the Teutouic race do indulge their slender proclivity in that direction, it is apt to be in ac¬ cordance with the most widely recognized maxims of sound investment. As a rule, Germans decline to believe in ownership qualified by debt, and, therefore, when they set out to purchase real es¬ tate, it is generally with ready money, and with enough of it to pay the entire purchase price. In New Germany, as a eertaiu section of the eastem partof the city is called, there are rows and blocks of properties owned by frugal and prosperous Germau Citizens, which are now and always have beeu innocent of any mortgage indebtedness. Exceptions however in all cases are necessary to prove the rule, aud are not wanting to the pr^eut remarks. The potency of the recent infla tion craze was fully demonstrated when it per¬ vaded the minds and influenced the action of so manystolid, steady-going German Citizens. No small number of those who had cultivated char acters for sagacifcj-, prudence and thrift were en ticed and deluded into wild speculations in vacanfc lots based upon heavy mortgages, and into invest¬ ments iu heavily encumbered improved property, the final resuits of which, w^ith rare exceptions, have been financial ruin. To the deep mortificatiou and bumiliation of conservative German Citizens, the financial management of savings banks, which were considered specially representative of the Gerraan-American race, has proved flagrantly - dishonest and discreditable. These unfortunate catastrophes may fairly be attributed to the unhealthy disorder of the times With «-he re-establishment of sounder conditions in finance and commerce, we may expect a rein- f orcemenfc of the sturdy and vigorous integrity which universaily characterizes tho German race. Though not numerous enough to be entitled to special distinction as owners of real estate, the Germans nevertheless illustrate the best praetical principles under wbich this investment may be enjoyed, and, as a rule, are types of orderly, in¬ dustrious and exemplary Citizens. Hebbews.—Last, though nofc leasfc, we come to mention the ownership of property held by Jews. The cultivation of real estate fnvestment is a