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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 63, no. 1631: June 17, 1899

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June 17, 1899. Record and Guide 1145 BifsDtesi AiblkEHu or Q^ttmi ItfTE^l.. PRICfi PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS Published every Saturday. Tblsphokb, GOETlJ,in)T 137*. Commuoicatlona should be addreased to ' C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street, J: 1, L[NDi> EY, Business Manager. "Entered at the Fosl-OItice at New Yorh,N. Y., assecO'M.-clasaw.alter,' Vol. LXIII. JUNE 17, 1S09. No. 1,631. DOWN in Wall street a considerable trading element keeps things lively, but the alternating attacks and repulses of bulls or bears there cut very little figure in the broad situation. This has been improved by more hopeful reports from the Agri¬ cultural Department and other sources of crop information, and. most unfortunately, by the distressing news from Russia of crop failures in some provinces on top of famine, and the consequent rise in grain prices. Every day sbows trade, commerce ancl man¬ ufactures to be flourishing more and more, because of which and of tbe immense reserves in the country, the exports of gold have excited little interest and no anxiety. According to custom, the report has been industriously circulated that the return of J. P. Morgan from his annual trip to Europe is to be followed by great things on the bull side of the market, but those who circulate this report are more probably those who have stocks they want to sell than those who want to buy. One of the most amusing end interesting things noticed this week is the way rival inter¬ ests in the sugar trade have used the Industrial Commission for the purpose of bluffing each other. It is easy to see that all are tired of the fight they are carrying, but it does not appear that they see a way to effect a settlement, or to compromise their difficulties. Incidentally, the testimony, if such it can he called, produced a new political phrase, "Protection is the Mother of Trusts," which is likely to see hard service from now on until the close of the Presidential campaign next year. Some of the "Trusts" need a little protection just now in the stock market, and in the absence of public speculation are likely to need more, ■and still want it. Outside of investment bonds the tendency in all corporate securities is to work downward, but of bonds not nearly enough can^ be had. POLITICALLY the world's situation continues from time to time to improve. President Loubet is proving himself the right man for France, and President Kruger of the Transvaal Republic seems inclined to grant directly to the Uitlanders the essentials of their demands, though ostensibly refusing to do- so at the dictation of the British Colonial office. These things have a wholesome bearing on the commercial situation and help to maintain its strength. In general there is little change to re¬ port; business is active, and the money market holds itself in reserve to meet increased demands. In the last ten years that electric illumination bas been in active competition with gas, it might be supposed that some injury had been done the latter. The actual facts, however, illustrate the theory that new discov¬ eries only meet wants that old resources are unable to supply. In Great Britain, where the process of consolidating the gas com¬ panies has not made comparison as difficult as it has here, the gas companies are paying better dividends and are in greater investment demand than they were in 1889. An inquiry into thia matter by the London "Economist," resulted in finding that in¬ vestors in gas stocks who have retained their holdings for the past ten years have in every case secured a substantial increase in capital value. There appears to have been a loss in the amount of gas supplied for lighting, but that loss was more than compensated by the increased demand for it for cooking and heating purposes. Another return found in our exchanges, which has a practical application on the situation here, relates to the advances made in May in iron and coal shares on the Berlin market. They run from 2^4 to 55%, and follow upon other ad¬ vances which brought the prices of these stocks to a range from I2OV2 to 625. The whole movement in the shares is due to the extraordinarily prosperous condition of the coal and iron trades as a result of the suddenly developed growth of the demand for Iron and steel for various purposes, particularly the structural. It appears that the differences between Austria and Hungary have been closed by the former practically conceding the claims of the latter. If thia proves to be the case, however unsatisfac¬ tory it may be to Austria inidividually, It will remove a danger of financial disturbance of no small proportions. A report from the Governor of Madagascar, recently issued, shows how suc¬ cessful has been the policy of excluding all but French manufac¬ tures from that island. The final result has been that British merchants are closing up their houses there, and that Ameri¬ cans and Germans who wish to continue their trade with the country have begun to manufacture in France, the German® go¬ ing to the length of asking that the tariffs on imported goods be further increased in the interest of French manufactures. In opening the Argentine Congress last month President Roeca ecngratulated the country on its emergence from commercial de¬ pression, a condition proved, he asserted, by an increased for¬ eign trade, and the springing into existence of new sources of production. The Treasury was in a good condition, and all the obligations of the country in the past year had been promptly met. INDEBTEDNESS OF NEW YORK REALTY. UNDER the stimulus of practical needs attempts are mado from time to time to estimate the mortgage indebtedness of New York, meaning thereby New York as constituted prior to the application of the charter of 1897, The difficulties in the way of arriving at accurate figures are very considerable; because, not only would it involve great labor and large expense to com¬ pile the total from the records in the Register's office, but the result so obtained would be inaccurate inasmuch as they make no mention of amounts paid to reduce the sum originally se¬ cured. If it were known what aggi'egate sum is secured by all the mortgages now of record in New York County, that sum would be for this reason much in excess of the actual mortgage indebtedness. There are other reasons which would help to make the figures unsatisfactory, but it is not necessary to go into them. As a consequence of these difficulties whenever it ia necessary to give figures of this mortgage debt to support arguments on the value of New York realty they are based upon inferences drawn from known circumstances surrounding it, and are at best gen¬ eralizations rather than estimates. Some assistance in obtaining greater accuracy in future can, we think, be afforded by tbe record of satisfaction pieces published in our last issue. The chief difficulty in arriving at an exact total has been in the in¬ ability to make the proper deductions. We have (or a long series of years the annual mortgage figures given in these col¬ umns, but the per contras have been missing, and still are in the accurate sense of the term; but something in the right direction bas been gained, and what that something is w© propose to show. Our reason for doing this is found in the importance of knowing what the proportions of indebtedness to capitalization are in real estate, as once discovered they will explain many circumstances surrounding that form of property, the reasons which have been rather vaguely surmised than understood. Census reports supply, in the first place, something to begin upon. That of 1870 set down the mortgage debt of the then New York City, consisting of Manhattan Island only, at $463,876,140; that of 1880, when the 23d and 24th Wards, west of the Bronx River, bad been added, at $589,106,335, and that of 1890 at $839,- 684,530. Since that report was made the land east of the Bronx now included in New York County was Included, bringing also with it sorae debt. In the eight years that elapsed between 1890 and the close of 1898, 118,371 mortgages on realty were filed, representing a total of $1,529,777,994; in the same period 94,282 (about) satisfaction pieces were also filed. We are authoritatively informed that about 1% of these relate to chattel mortgages, and that 2% would more than cover the necessary reductions to b8 made to give the number of satisfactions of realty mortgages. Making the larger of the two reductions there would remain a total of 92,397. The 118,371 new mortgages averaged $12,923 each If we allow the same average for the 92,397 satisfaction pieces we bave a total of $1,194,046,431 of mortgagea discharged, leaving a net increase of $335,731,563 to be added to the real estate indebtedness of 1S90, and making the total ontstanding at the opening of tbis year $1,175,416,093. If it Cannot be claimed that this figure is an accurate one; it can be Claimed, for reasona that will afterwards appear, that it gives more than a general impression of the actual state of the case. That being so, it la next in order to show what proportion the debt bears to value, or capitalization, and to see what bearing that has upon real estate in general. For these purposes the results already ob¬ tained are set in comparison with assessed and real values In the following table. It is taken that the assessed values of 1870, 1880 and 1S90 represent 50-}! of the real values of those years, and those of 1899 60%, those being the generally though not officially accepted percentages: I