crown CU Home > Libraries Home
[x] Close window

Columbia University Libraries Digital Collections: The Real Estate Record

Use your browser's Print function to print these pages.

Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 63, no. 1629: June 3, 1899

Real Estate Record page image for page ldpd_7031148_023_00001141

Text version:

Please note: this text may be incomplete. For more information about this OCR, view About OCR text.
June 3, 1899. Record and Guide 1041 >*» Tfkifriis ID f^ Esrnjc.BuLDgfo A^nzcmJitEXouaEHeut QeootpoH Btrsoltet Alb iHEKBS or CeHb^ IH1PF»% PRICE PER TEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS Fubliihed every Saturday. Tblbphomb, Cobtlamdt 1370. Communications should be addreESGd to C. W. SWEET, 14-lG Vesey Street. J. 1. LfS'D&EY, Business Manager. •• Entered at the Post-O^ice al New York.N. Y., as seermd-elasg matter." Vol. LXIII. JUNE 3. 180D. No, 1,G29. \ T OTHING is more likely tO' bring liome to the speculative I'V world the fact that everything is not now running so entirely in favor of the Uuited States as was the case last year than the considerable export of gold that goes out this week. There is nothing alarming in the fact that a few millions of gold must be shipped to meet our debts abroad, but it will surprise the many who could aot believe that the remarkably favorable business circumstances of the last year or two were not to be¬ come permanent. Gold exports in the present liquidating con¬ dition of the stocli market will be a good card for bear operators to work on, and the process of getting prices down will be hastened by that fact. Here and there and now and then th© market offers some opposition to the decline, but the force of necessary liquidation is generally too much for it, and the strength is oniy temporary. The best hope for a substantial rally is found in the fact that the bear sentiment has become quite extended and the borrowing of stocks noticeably large. It is well to remember when regarding the weakness of stock market quotations that that is a thing apart from the general situation, and is due entirely to over-confidence in the late specu¬ lative movement on the long side. It is not brought about by unfavorable outside conditions; it is a local trouble for which the application of remedies locally is all that is necessary to effect a cure. The financial and commercial situation is sound. Busi¬ ness is good in all lines; iron especially calls for attention in that regard. While results in metal industrials have not recently been at all satisfactory, it is at the same time certain that it is in that direction tbat the big money will be made during the present period of business revival. This is a text from which we have preached for some time, and now find that the movement is at¬ tracting attention elsewhere, so that the public vision will soon be brought into line with the surprising results that have already come to view, and speculation will be guided accordingly. THERE is a certainty that the European money market will soon feel the effects of Governmental borrowings. A Japan¬ ese 4% loan of il0,O0O,O00 is about to be issued in London, where also there is a Mexican loan conversion on the carpet aad talk of a new Russian loan. The last is uot received with much favor, because it is felt that the Russian Government has re¬ course to London ouly because it has exhausted its credit for the tiine being in Berlin and Paris, and because of the unsatisfaetory economic condition, of "the Russian people. As. bearing on the latter, some figures reported to his Government by the British Consul-General at St. Petersburg are interesting. These show that in European Russia, as a result of bad crops and high tax¬ ation, the number of horses per 1,000 of population decreased from 1861 to 189S from 260 to 182, the number of cattle from 357 to 259, of sheep from 733 to 405, and of swine from 157 to 97. Considering that, in spite of attempts to foster manufactures by tariffs, Russia is still an agricultural country, these figures point to an alarming retrogression in the material condition of the people. British bank reports for the last year corroborate fully the accounts of the prosperous condition of business in the communities they serve. Deposits and assets both increased substantialiJ', and the average premium on the shares in the market has advanced in the past year from 227% to 244%. There have also been satisfactory advances in the prices of colonial banking shares quoted on the London Exchange, From Buenos Ayres comes the story that not only is the famous project for another special issue of inconvertible currency, to be exchanged at 2% dollars for one of gold, to be revived in the coming session of the Argentine Congress, but there is also a packed majority formed to make it law; and, worse still, that the executive Js secretly favoring it while outwardly affecting to oppose it. From the same quarter it is also reported that the Government con¬ templates the imposition of a per capita tax on tbe sheep and horned cattle in the country, French cotton spinners and weavers continue their agitation to prevent the Government from making any concessions on imports of foreign manufac¬ tured cotton into Madagascar. Industrial issues still make the activity of the Berlin bourse. It is announced that a German commission will go to Asia Minor, Armenia and Mesopotamia soon in order to make investigations into economic conditions, with special reference to the continuation of the Anatolian Kaiiway to the East. The industrial consolidation movement is also finding expression in Austria under a moderate revival of public Interest In business. It is announced from Vienna tbat the fact that several banks have shown a ^iractical interest in industrial undertakings has given much satisfaction, and the freditanstalt has lately succeeded in reuniting all the Austrian fez manufacturles in one great establishment, and it has now undertaken a similar transaction for the paper manufactories cf Austria. It is about to turn one of the first machine manu¬ factories into a joint stock company, and it is negotiating for the acquisition of a new invention of a cheap and quick system of making cards for pattern weaving which is believed to be of the utmost importance to the textile industry. MAZET AND R£AL ESTATE ASSESSMENTS. HE information elicite* by the Mazei Committee concern¬ ing real estate assessments was not, of course, very novel to our readers. Everybody who has thought at all about the subject has concluded that the existing system of taxing real estate is crude and unscientific. Under it, the tax list is no doubt a hodge-podge of inequalities. This is no fault of the Depart¬ ment or' of the assessors. It is inherent to any system of taxa¬ tion based upon "value." How is "value" to be determined? There are nearly as many methods of attempting a computation as there are pieces of prop¬ erty, but in the end all result in more or less of guess-work. Everybody knows how I'are it Is that even the most expert ap¬ praisers agree. At times the difference between their estimates is little short of ludicrous. Ask the average real estate man what makes the value of a piece of real estate; ask him why, for in¬ stance, a square foot of land on the corner of Broad and Wall streets is worth more than a similar square foot on the corner of Liberty and Nassau streets, and how the precise so many dollars of difference is to be accounted for mathematically, and you will then see in what a foggy atmosphere the conception of real estate values exists. The only way to determine what is the market value of a piece of real estate is to sell it, and then, even the moment the ham¬ mer has fallen, there will be good judges who will declare tbat the price given does not represent the value of the property. The parcel is worth more or less as the case may be. Mr, Moss should keep in mind that if the taslt of assessing real estate for the purpose of taxation were committed to the most experienced and honorable of our real estate experts, and they were given unlimited time to consider all the circumstances and conditions cf each piece of property in the city, the list when completed would still be full of contradictions and inequalities, and lie could put each and all of the experts on the stand and ask them annoying questions. The systeam we are working under is essentially an imperfect one. It is worse; it is bad. We would like to see a commission appointed to carefully consider the subject and amend our ways. Taxation should be based upon something that is definite and determinable. The value of real estate Is not definite, and it is not determinable except by subjecting the actual property to the test of the market, which in itself is an uncertain quantity, varying from day to day. It has been proposed that taxes should be based upon rents. Such a system would have some weak points, but it would not be a system of guess-work, and when the Mazet Committee report to the Legislature at Albany it Is this guess-work they should strike at. LL attempts to give the figures for the tax rate partake largely of the nature of guesses, Cn the opening of the tax books last January, the budget requirements having been previously made known, 2.50 was settled upon as the likely rate, but, as was pointed out at the time, nothing definite could be stated until the personal estate valuations were determined. These have not been officially announced yet. Now it is stated that the rate for Manhattan will be 2.65, because of additions to the budget for excess expenditures in 1898. It ought not to surprise anyone that some additions to the current budget will be necessary because of the inadequacy of taxes levied in 1897, because the charter anticipated that and provided for it, as wili be seen by reference to page 50 of Van Siclen's "Bearing of the Greater New York Charter on Real Estate Interests," where will also be found tbe reason why dilferent rates will be levied In