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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 68, no. 1751: October 5, 1901

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October 5, 1901. RECORD AND GUIDE. 403 "^y^ ^ ESTABUSHEd'^ )4rPH21^ 1868, BiJsit^Ess Mb Themes of Grrfenil. I/ftERfST- PRICE PER YEAR. IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS Published every Satarday Oommimlcattons Bliould bo addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street, New YorR J. T. UNDSEY, Buslneea Managter Telepbone, Cort^ndt 1370 'Entered at the Post Office at New York. N. Y., as second-class malter." Vol. LXVIII. OCTOBER 5, 1901. No. 1751. THOUGH the Stock Market is attracting a good deal of at¬ tention by reason of its weakness, there is very little for us to say about it. It is simply in a process, still incomplete, of producing the natural results of previous events under which values were unduly inflated. Our readers were prepared for what has taken place and are also, by the previous remarks, prepared for what is still to take place. If anything shows the indifference of the public to the allurements of the bull pools, it is tbe coolness not to say suspicion with which the really good statement of the U. S. Steel Co. was received. The figures re¬ flect on the securities values much higher than those now quoted, yet they declined more than they advanced. The report declared the late strike had been more blessing than hurtful to the enterprise, yet the public metaphorically expressed their sentiments by inhalations and the momentary drawings to¬ gether of the eyelids. This statement is now placed alongside of that of President Ripley regarding the benefits of a crop failure to the railroads operating in the stricken section. When such statements as these are made to influence prices and, especially when they are allowed to leak out ahead of the puh¬ lication of the reports themselves, they naturally arouse sus¬ picion and encourage operations on the short side. No less suspicious is the wonderful story attaching to each issue of prominence of new developments about to transpire calculated to raise values, and equally destructive of quoted values is its circulation. SO soon as tfie pending governmental loans are out, there will be more activity in the security markets of Europe, but meanwhile these markets have to hold themselves in reserve to meet the demands of their rulers. The intending borrowers in¬ clude Great Britain, Germany, Russia, Denmark, Japan and oth¬ ers, and their oiterings will inspirit the market and extend movement to other investment issues, commencing with col¬ onials and municipals. The fact that these issues are to make the business of the financial markets in the near future, gives interest to the application that has been made to list some Frankfort-on-the-Main ZVc's on the New York Stock Exchange. We pointed out some time ago the desirability of establishing a foreign department on our exchange and are glad to see the first step taken towards it. If the national dreams of a largely increased foreign trade are realized as certainly as our expec¬ tations of increased wealth are sure to be, there are two good reasons why the home facilities for buying and selling foreign securities should be ample and easily available. The flrst, that surplus capital may have an enlarged field of investment and, the second, that there may be a ready market for the bonds which we must often take in payment for our goods. As it is there is a volume of British and German securities held here large enough to begin a foreign department with, and when once one is established the extension of its operations as new issues are added would be. simply mechanical. However, to go back to our proper subject, the condition of business in Europe, we have still to record that there is rather more depression than improvement in the industrial situation, though the Stock Exchanges have taken on a little more cheerfulness, probably due chiefly to the expected activity in government bonds reflect¬ ing itself In other directions. IT is to be regretted that Comptroller Coler has not received a nomination either for Mayor or Comptroller by one side or the other. He has not, indeed, been occupying a very digni¬ fied position politically during the past few months; but that should not obscure the fact that during his term of office, he has been one of the most efficient financial managers New Vork has ever had. The city needs more municipal politicians of the same type as Mr. Coler^men, who really make an exact and painstaking study of the needs of the city, and who are not afraid, either to expose extravagant practices or to come out with a definite and comprehensive policy of improvement. This is about the last attitude which either Tammany office holders or their opponents assume. They study the official business of the city in the newspapers, and show little indica¬ tion of a first-hand knowledge of municipal affairs, or of the possession of any definite and adequate policy—beyond the adoption of a few current phrases. But Mr. Coler knew what he was about, and the eity will be fortunate to get a successor who knows it as well. i Ante=New Law Tenements. OWNERS of tenement property are gradually realizing what there is for them in the provisions of the New Tene¬ ment House Law relating to "Now-Existing Tenements;" that is, tenements that were standing when the bill went into effect on April 12th last; hut the realty world generally have but a faint conception of what the enforcement of these provisions will mean to the real estate market. The owners of tenements are showing their appreciation of the situation by joining pro¬ tective associations, and there may possibly grow out of this movement an organization so large and so united that the small property owner may be able to speak through it with good ef¬ fect when the Legislature conTenes, aud, in any case, can make common cause with his fellows in the courts. The alterations required in old tenements run all the way from a moderate amount of fireproofing to the insertion of an air-shaft which will necessitate expensive structural changes carrying away one room on each floor and thereby destroying the financial scheme on which such buildings are generally run. A special provision renders useless any bedroom not contain¬ ing 600 cubic ft. of air space, and limits the number of persons us¬ ing a bedroom to a divisor of the cubic air space that will pro¬ duce 600 cubic ft. for each. The landlord is, most absurdly, re¬ quired to see that this provision is obeyed and he is to be liable to a heavy fine or a term in jail if he fails to do so. Of course, given a strict enforcement of the law, he would for his own pro¬ tection have to throw any room not up to the minimum re¬ quirements for air space into an adjoining one and thus reduce the rental value of the apartment and, further, devise some means to prevent more people than the law allows sleeping in any room, a problem for which we are utterly unable to sug¬ gest any solution whatever. In addition to facing a certain loss of rental value, the owner will have to provide additional cap¬ ital to meet the expense of squaring his building with the law. This expense will run from a few hundred to five or six thou¬ sand dollars. A careful calculation has shown that the con¬ struction of the shaft with the other exactions in a six-room deep floor will cost the larger amount and in a four-room deep floor from $2,500 to $3,000. The consequent increase in capital account accompanied hy loss of income must leave to many an owner no alternative but the surrender of his property to- an unwilling mortgagee, because of the destruction of his equity in any case. Such a state of affairs would he fraught with the gravest consequences to the real estate market, of which tenements form so large a part. These consequences are not fully por¬ trayed in the case of the'individual owner. That is done better by showing aggregate results. Those who are. responsible for the Tenement House Law kept their eyes fixed upon Cherry Hill, while framing a law that applies to the whole of Greater New York. There are, therefore, thousands of houses in the outlying sections, where certainly light and air are plentiful enough that must be altered along with the worst rookery the Department of Health can point to. This swells the total of houses affected to enormous proportions. The exact number could only be ascertained by an actual count, but a rough cal¬ culation is that 65 per cent of the 82,000 tenements in the eity. exclusive of three-family dwellings, come, more or less, within the provisions of the law. This would give a total of 53,000 to be altered at expenditures anywhere within the range previously given. The average per house is placed variously at $1,000, $2,000 or $3,000, or a total new capital to be provided on 65 per cent of the tenement property of the city in the course of six months or so of from $53,000,000 to $159,000,000, and this in the face of a materially reduced rental value. Whatever amount we take as a base for our calculation, the resulting lowest sum total runs into eight flgures, and the question naturally arises, where is all this money to come from? Have the owners so much loose cash, or would the market supply it? We think not in each case, and that much of the property it¬ self—a great deal too much for its good—would have to come onto the market. ■ . ■ n