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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 26, no. 666: December 18, 1880

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XXYI. NEW YOEK, SATUEDAY, DECEMBIJE 18, 1880. No. 666. Published Weekly by C^e K«al €sto Sworlr ^ssodatxon. TERMS. ONE YEAR, in advance... .810.00. Communications should be addressed to C. W^. SAV EET, No. 137 BaoAnwAY REAL ESTATE IN 1880. The end of the year now rapidly approach¬ ing enables owners of property, dealers and brokers, to take a retrospective view of the year's business in real estate. In fact, " it pays " to take such a glance backward, at a time when books must be posted, balances settled, and when arrangements are gener¬ ally entered into for new combinations and new enterprises. Standing as we do, therefore, to-day, within sound almost of the Christmas bells, ifc is but just that we should permit the business of 1880, so far as New York i-ealty is concerned, to pass before us in review. At the very start we may be met with objec¬ tions by the over-sanguine dealers who bid us to wait a while, but The Record prefers to do everything in its proper time and when occasion calls for it. That occasion has now arrived and account of stock must be taken. On several occasions during the year now about expiring have we congratulated owners and dealers at the constantly im¬ proving condition of the market, and yet there are to-day many of them not satisfied with the actual condition of affairs. These last, however, constitute the fag-end of a clique, which, seven years ago, brought in¬ vestors to the very verge of ruin. They imagined, when in February and March matters began to set in lively, even on some portions of the West Side, that real estate would get along "booming" from one end of Manhattan Island to the other, and they found out only their mistake a month or two later, when for the last time, it is hoped, they ascertained to their cost that this mar¬ ket no longer was a football to be tossed into the air or lowered to the ground at the mere whim of players. It was not until the great sale held by the Mutual Life Insurance Company that any¬ thing Hke market values were established. The buyers there.were bona Jide investors, and what they there and then decreed be¬ came the basis for subsequent transactions during the siimmer. The prices there es¬ tablished, it is true, were low compared even with values of previous inflation years, but they were nevertheless with unanimous con¬ sent accepted as a guide for subsequent operations. As summer passed along and but.few transactions of importance were re¬ corded, the " boomers" of .February and March took back seats. Honest investors continued to crowd to the front, however, and in almost every instance they succeeded in getting considerable real estate for very little money. The autumn at once revealed the basis upon vfhich rests the strength of the real estate market in New York and suburbs. The simple question of supply and demand began to teU. Builders, who only a year ago thought they had entered upon venture¬ some enterprises, found a ready sale for all of those houses, the construction of which came up to ifche expectations of the buyers of the period. The luore houses were sold, the more vacant lots were disposed of, this time, too, with occasional heavy profits. While speculation did not dare to rait>e its head defiantly, the simple investment de¬ mand gave unusual strength to the market. Capitalists who had in the last few years improved their vacant lots and fared well by them, doubled their purchases and in¬ creased the number of their improvements, thus reflecting in the very best manner pos¬ sible the increasing growth of New York, Brooklyn and Westchester. Even the exciting canvass which pre¬ ceded the Presidential election did not de¬ ter bona fide investors from making more and more purchases of real estate in and around Manhattan Island. The large supply of money on hand here and elsewhere low¬ ering the price which capital usually commands at this season of the year, has since increased the number of new investors in our market, as has been shown regularly in these columns from week to week. Mer¬ chants and professional men, schooled by the experiences of the past few years, have learned where to place their surplus funds, and they do so now with care and caution and after carefully studying the situation. While the year ends therefore with no large profits in the pockets of the speculators, it leaves the real estate market in as strong and healthy condition as could possibly be desired. The very absence of speculative control of the market places it in a position more inviting to investors than ever before. It is indeed a rising market, and not many days of the new year will have been passed before the effect of the present constantly increasing demand for real property in our midst will be felt not only in New York, but in adjoining towns and villages. THE OUTLOOK FOR REAL ESTATE. All the indications point to the year 1881 as seeing the commencement of the greatest advance in real estate known to the history of the country. This enhancement of the value of realty will not be conflned to city or town property. It will include as well cultivated farms and wild land. The year 1881 will see more railway projects started than any previous twelfth month, and a greater mileage of roads constructed than any previous two years in our history. The great prosperity of the West is due mainly to the enhancement in value of land, which, in turn, is due to the railroads started and com¬ pleted or partially completed previous to the panic of 1873. Nearly aU these enterprises had a legitimate basis provided the times had continued good. They were meant to supply a real want, but the collapse of our paper currency, the reduction in values brought about by the demonetization of silver, chilled and for a time kUled the railway enterprises, and when they became restored to life by the resumption of specie payments and the addition to our currency of the vast stores of gold and silver, not only in this country but outside of it, this occurring simultane¬ ously with immense crops here arid poor crops abroad, resulted in an enhancement in the values of agricultural land as well as of railway property in the far West that suddenly enriched hundreds of thousands of heads of families and made whole sections of the Union prosperous beyond precedent. It is now settled that America is ahea;d of Russia and the rest of the world in the pro¬ duction of grains and provisions. Russia finds herself unable to increase the amount of wheat which she sells to Western Europe, for the surplus is stationary, taking the last twelve years together, while the United States has increased its output regularly every year. The great facts of our time are the ad¬ ditions to our currency, the immense emi¬ gration arid the wide extension of our rail¬ way system. These are the factors, together with the rapid increase of our population, which are going to enhance the value of realty beyond any precedent in the past history of the country. We have already explained how the telegraph makes money cheap throughout the world, as it riiakes available the treasures of one nation for em¬ ployment in other nations. It is now settled that money wUl be so abundant that in¬ vestors must be satisfled with three and a half, four and four and a half per cent. Hence it follows that owners of productive realty wfll see their property largely advance in value, while real estate, weU located and in the line of improvement, will shortly be in eager demand as soon as it is understood that stocks and readily negotiated bonds have reached their maximum value. Every period of inflation is closed by what, in com¬ mon parlance, is known as a *' boom" ii: real estate. It was so in the paper money era. When we recall the high price for Boulevard lots and other unimproved property at the upper end of this island, we have some ink-