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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 71, no. 1820: January 31, 1903

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January 31. 1903- RECORD AKD GUIDE 189 ESTABUSHEIi'^iliARPH2Ly>l868. ^feffi TO RPJ- Esw^ - BuiLDiffc AjifidTHrruRE ,t{ousnloiD Dd3CB(jium1. Btfsdfess a>1dThemes OF GEffen^ iKtERfsj; PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS Published every Saturday Communlaations Bbould be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street, New YorK ^.T. LINDSEY, Business Manager_______Telephoae. Cortlandt 3157 " "Emiered at Hie Fost Office ai New Tork. Jf. F.. as second-class matter." Vol. LXXI. JANUARY 31, 1903. No. 1820 The Index to Vohime LXX. o.f the Record and Guide, cover¬ ing the period between Jid;/1 and Deeeinber 31, 1902, ("s ready for delwerij. Friw. $1.00. This Index in its enlarged form is now reeof/nized as indispensable to every oiie enyaged or interested in real estate and bnilding operations. It eorers all transactions — deeds, mortgages, leases, auction sales, building plans filed, etc. Orders for the Index should be sent at once to the office of publication, 14 and Ifj Vcscy St.___________________ ^i XJCH a market for stocks as there was this week was one )^ of better prices, but the advances were so obviously the result of speculative .manipulation that very littl- importance can be attached to them. There was also more life in the limited list of active bonds, but here it was rather at the expense than at the gain of quoted values. This contradictory movement of the latter class of securities proves the artificiality of that of the irst There are no more signs of outside buying than there were .a week ago, and the month ends with the market thoroughly -disappointed of the traditional January buying. This is un- -fortunate because we are nearing the time when the spring com¬ mercial demand for money is approaching, when the reserves -which pile up at the beginning of the year begin to decline again. For this reason an advance in stock prices in February is un¬ usual in normal tim'es. The known operations of the Treas- :ury foreshadow a change in the weekly hank statement from that reported for the past four or five weeks. With the absence o£ support from outside declines in the surplus reserves will be likely to encourage professional operations on the short side; and, should the demand for money with the opening of the active business year be as great as the continued liveliness of all lines of business would have one to believe, liquidation may also be produced. Some gratifying features of special applicability have «ome to the front this week. One of these is the statistical posi¬ tion of copper, The reserves appear to be smaller than at this time last year, and the revival of European business is pretty sure to include a considerable amount of electrical development by which the consumption of the metal will be accelerated. An¬ other of these features is the influence of the coal situation upon net earnings of the Coalers, some of which have reported for December a decrease of operating cost accompanying increased gross earnings, so that the added receipts from coal wholly bene¬ fit income. NEITHER is there much activity in the exchanges, oor more satisfactory conditions as to money abroad than here. Very little business is doing, but while it is said that the Venezuelan question overshadows the market, it is doubtful if more would have been doing if there had been no Venezuelan question at all. It is to be noted that although the reserves of the Bank of England have been very materially strengthened since the beginning of the year, the promised reduction of its typical rate is not made and it continues to stand at 4 per cent., which is higher for this time of tbe year than it has been for many years, excepting 1900 and 1901. This can only be ex¬ plained by an unusual demand for money from some quarter, and is all the more surprising because of the limited commercial and industrial movement. The expectation of the Transvaal im¬ provement loan may have something to do with the mainten¬ ance of the rate at a high flgure, but the issue of this loan can¬ not be made for sometime and a temporary reduction of the rate would be possible if there were not other contributing causes for its strength. Gossip says that the loan will be for £40,000,000, be guaranteed by the British government and bear 3 per cent, in¬ terest If these details are correct, the loan will be in great de¬ mand and not unlikely Consols, which pay only 2;^ per cent, after April 1 next, which is 2.7 per cent, at present quotations, will be thrown over in favor of the new bonds. These have no con¬ nection with the Transvaal war contribution bonds, which will have no guarantee and will therefore be of a higher demonina- tion, but of which the flrst issue of £10,000,000 is not to appear uutil next year. While on this matter, it may be pointed out that in spite of the labor difficulty, the production of the Rand con¬ tinues to increase, the output for December being 196,023 ounces, compared with 187,375 ounces for November, and a monthy aver¬ age for the year of about 140,000 ounces. Another great financial operation which cannot fail to affect the money market is the proposed conversion of the Austrian debt of $700,000,000 to 4 per cent, Austria has out silver and paper loans, which are quoted at big discounts, and the country's credit requires that these should be substituted by gold bonds. But this is another matter that throws its shadow a long way before, because the ■enabling act has yet to be passed. There is always money in these conversions, but Austrian securities are too far out of the way for American capital to take them np. Some indirec:t relief is anticipated from the fact that the Budget Committee of the French Chamber of Deputies have reported that a loan will not be necessary to meet deficiencies. It is believed from this that there will either be no loan at all or one so small that it will not disturb even the surface of the market. Financial paperfi report the French to be large buyers of foreign securities, including American railroad bonds, but if there is no more actual sign of the buying of the others than of our railroad bonds the report exaggerates the facts; or the buying is being done in a way that leaves no trace behind it. One thing is clear, and that is that the scare of French capital is over, as the savings bank and other statistics show that the surplus capital is running again into ordinary channels. Throughout Europe the improve¬ ment of the business situation is reflected in more confident and cheerful opinions. THE RECORD AND GUIDE is at a loss to understand what the city stands to gain from the passage of the bill re¬ cently introduced at Albany, providing for the separate valua¬ tion of the land and the building in the tax assessment books. This provision will complicate the work of the deputy assessors without being of any great assistance to them in their fore¬ most task of hitting off as near as possible the full value of the property assessed. It is probable that no one r.ot intimately familiar with existing real estate conditions can realize how impossible it will be in a great many instances to make any useful dscrimination between the value of the land and the value of the improvements. In the case of modern buildings, of a fixed type, built under rigid economic conditions, it would probably help an expert in making his appraisal to estimate separately the cost of the building and the cost of the land, but such cases constitute less than the majority among all the par¬ cels of Manhattan real estate. The borough is covered with buildings, which while they are of temporary use in providing income for the owner, are almost a negligable quantity in the value. Tbe land is practically vacant land, and sells for the price it does because it is available for a certain kind of re-im¬ provement. How could such houses be valued? If they were burned down to-morrow the land would be as valuable as it 13 to-day, and yet if the land were written down on the books as worth as much as the house and land together, what would the insurance companies say? Take the case of the old Progress Club for instance. Here is a building which cost about $400,000 to erect about a dozen years ago, yet quite unexpectedly a pur¬ chaser was found in 1901, who was willing to pay so much for the land, that the club could afford to throw the building in. How could an appraiser, who was estimating separately the value of the building and the land, have made any sensible dis¬ crimination between the two? Thousands of buildings in Man¬ hattan are kept temporarily on the land pending improvement, because they help to pay expenses, but it would defy the powexa of the most expert appraiser to place upon them their pre,cise value to the owner. In fact under existing conditions the chief advantage of attempting to separate the value of the land from the value of the improvement would be to prepare the way for the introduction of some .sclieme of single taxation; and so far as that is the purpose of the proposed legislation, it would be as well to frankly proclaim it. The actual and present value of the whole property is the only value the assessors need to find for the purpose of our present laws, and their hands are full enough as it is in attempting to catch that elusive flgure. "TXT HIDE it is not likely that the city ordinances will be V X amended to give street cars the right of way over other forms of wheeled traffic, something will doubtless be done to regulate the latter in order to serve the great public interest involved in the former. What is most important in this con¬ nection and most likely to afford relief is a consideration of the