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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 71, no. 1819: January 24, 1903

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January 24, 1903. RECORD AND GUIDE 137 iki^ P Pfti- Esrw^ • BmLDijfG Ap.a^nBmmE .HouseUoib DEocn^uiiMl. Biraafess Alto Themes OF GoicR^ iKtaiFsi; PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS Pttblis/fed eVerp Saturday Communications Bhoull be addreBsed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vcscy Street, New YorK t. T. LIWDSEY. Buslneae Manager Teleplione, Cortlandt 3157 "Entered at ihe Fost Office at New Tork, N. Y.. as second-class maUer." Vol. LXXI. JANUARY 24, 1903. No. 1819 The Index to Vol-ume LXX. of the Eecord and Guide, coverhig ihe period between Julyl and- Deeemher -W, 1^02.will he ready for delivery next ivcek. Priee, |1 On. 'Ihis Judex in its enlarged form is note recogHi:::ed as indispensable to evvrij one engaged or interested in real estate and huilding operafioiis. It covers all transaetions — deeds, mortgages, lea-ics, auction sales, building plans filed, etc. Orders for the Index should be sent at onee to the oflice of publication, 14 and 16 Vesey Si. OUR stock and bond market drags in a very unsatisfactory way. Whether they fear that the Venezuelan incident will develop mischievous tendencies, or that the interval be¬ tween the year-end and the spring demand for money will be too short to give sufficient permanence to easy rates for their purpose, the buying public holds aloof. Under such circum¬ stances values are likely to suffer, because, while the market is left so entirely to professionals, action is likely to be more on the short than the long side, and any unpleasant news is sure to be used as an excuse for attacking prices. So far this week there has been just enough support to prevent a break, and the absence of anything in the shape of forced liquidation has de¬ prived the bears of material on v>^hich to work, A cleai-ing of the Venezuelan situation should help the market. There is a moderate amount of investment buying which would be greater but for the scarcity of the goods. A considerable proportion of this buying does not appear in the published returns, because It is largely counter business. When a house has a block of in¬ vestments for sale it generally has a place for them, and does not have to go on to the Exchange to dispose of them in ones, fives, tens, and so on as was at one time necessary.. Conse- qneutly sales made in this way do not get reported in the news¬ papers. This manner of doing business in investments is grow¬ ing, as the investment houses have got into the practice of keep¬ ing up active intercommunications through men specially en¬ gaged for the purpose of looking after bond business. It fol¬ lows that a good deal may be doing of which the'surface pre¬ sents no sign. Still, comparatively speaking, business i;i Wall Street, taken altogether, is dull, revealing a lack of interest in securities that is not of good augury. There is, however, noth¬ ing the matter with the general business situation, a fact by no means inconsistent with dulness in the stock market. The easier condition of money in Europe and the continued foreign demand for cereals are reassuring as to the movements of gold, and if the public could be assured that they have nothing to fear from politics, home or foreign, and that money would remain available even if rates should continue relatively high, they would he buyers of listed securities. IT is within the probabilities that the Bankof England discount rate will be reduced before long. Money in London and elsewhere in Europe is distinctly easy, and should this continue the bank will not be able to maintain its present relatively high rate in the face of competition from other centres. What de¬ lays the reduction of the rate is the necessity the bank is under of making itself strong prior to the announcement of the coming loan. Similar reasons account for steady official rates at other points. While New York is speculating upon the likelihood of American participation in both the British and the German loans, London and Berlin are figuring upon their own likelihood ot sharing in the new issues of capital that some of our great railroads will make in the coming spring, notably Pennsylvania. These expectations and the increasing ease in money are having some influence upon the security markets; the effect is moderate so far. but it is in the direction of better values. Opinion in Europe does not incline to the belief that New York will have to ship gold, but rather holds that owing to the larger ship¬ ments of grain and a foreign buying of American securities that will ensue with renewed confidence in the general situation, there will be no movement of gold one way or the other. Among matters of interest reported from across the Atlantic is the influ¬ ence the Marconi experiments are having upon cable invest¬ ments. One of the financial papers publishes a table containing the prices of fourteen cable securities, all of which have declined in the past year, the losses varying from a fraction to twenty-one and a half points. In the extreme case, doubtless, there were other causes at work, but as the downward movement oE prices is so unexceptional, the sentimental effect of the remarkable progress in Marconigraphy is a factor in determining the values of these issues. If certain enthusiastic individuals are correct in their statements, the Transvaal will become eminent as a dia¬ mond as well as a gold producer. A field east of Pretoria is now being exploited by a number oi companies, whose combined capital amounts to about $4,000,000. and among whose stocks one has advanced from £1 to £23. From this and other circum¬ stances most glowing results are prophesied. The question oE the advisability of discontinuing grants in aid of railroads and other carriers is coming to the front in Canada. Since railroad building began in the territory of our northeni neighbor, $250,- 000,000 of money and 60.000,000 acres of land have been voted as "grants-in-aid." Besides this ?100,000,000 have been spent on canals to improve navigation on the St. Lawrence and on the great lakes. There are several pretentious schemes awaiting governmental encouragement, but, while the country has been enterprising in this respect, and has benefited greatly from it. neither of the two great political parties is now inclined to carry the grants-in-aid policy further. The view that the Canadian railroad industry need no longer remain in the nursery, and that it can now maintain itself is held by the many thinking Canadians. THE important announcement of the week in reference to the assessment lists is the statement that hereafter the tentative lists will be published annually in the City Record. This is a most excellent aud desirable step, which will be worth to the property-owners of the city every cent that it will cost. The only people who can object to it are people who for scm? reason dislike the idea that their assessments should be sub¬ mitted to the light of full publicity, and objections on this ground are an argument in favor of publication rather than against it. One cannot, however, acquiesce so cordially in another reform which, it is proposed, shall accompany this publication—the re¬ form, viz.. of itemizing separately in the total assessment the value of the ground and the value of the improvement. That such a separation of the two parts that go to make up the full value of a parcel would be an admirable thing in itself and a long step in the direction of a scientific system of assessment may be fully admitted, but the objection is that it enormously increases the actual work performed by the deputy assessors and the practical difficulties of doing that work in an entirely satisfactory manner. President Wells, of the Tax Department, has recently stated in a public interview that the methods of the deputy assessors are necessary rough and ready, and that it is impossible to secure the services of expert appraisers at the sal¬ aries now paid by the department. Under such circumstances the inadvisability of complicating the work they now perform is sufficiently obvious. The inference from these considerations is, however, not that the attempt to make a really scientific assessment should be abandoned, but that proper measures should be taken to improve the methods heretofore used in making the assessments. By an improvement of methods we do not necessarily mean any radical change in the personnel of the assessors; we only mean that the department should possess a large enough staff to review Its own work, just as a private property-owner would have an appraisal of his property made for an important purpose, duplicated by at least two ex¬ perts. A thoroughly informed appraiser, for instance, could rap¬ idly review the assessment books of several sections of the city, and could in this way check errors in the work of the deputy assessors, so that when the books were opened to the public there would be a much smaller chance of the discovery of under or over-valuations than there is at present. OME such method of reviewing in detail and within the de¬ partment the work of the assessors is all the more neces¬ sary, because for the first time in generations the attempt is now being made to get a really equitable and scientific assess¬ ment of real estate. Under the old system when the property was supposed to be assessed at two-thirds of its value, but was really assessed at almost any proportion the assessor pleased— under such a system gross inequalities were quite unavoidable. But the new rule of putting a conservative estimate of the full value of real estate upon the books is an enormous improve-