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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 73, no. 1872: January 30, 1904

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January 30, 1904. RECORD AND GUIDE 217 ESTABUSHED "^tfj . DkIoVD To RfV- EsTWt. SuiLoijfe A^iTEcnis? .KooseUoid QEomf^ .Bifsotss Alto Themes of Ge»Jer^ iKTERglTi PiFlICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS 'Published eVert) Saturday Communications shouia be aadreased to C. W. SWEET, 14.16 Vesey Street, New YorK S, *. LINDSEY, Business Manager Telepbone. Cortlandt 3157 ~ ""Jeered al the Post t ■vol. LXXIII. rival interests, will be maintained for a very long time. It looks very much as if the street railway interest was threatening competition merely lor the purpose of securing some advanta¬ geous agreement with the Interborough Company; and this appearance of the matter is made the more plausible by the fact that a tunnel, such as the Metropolitan Company proposes, would not serve the purpose for which it is ostensibly intro¬ duced. It wouljl not really relieve the congestion of the surface railway traffic. Whatever happens, the people of New York may be perfectly sure that in the end it will be combination and not competition. Under any circumstances, however, the immediate necessity is rapid transit legislation; and the Record and Guide is glad to observe that the views of the Commission on that important matter are being embodied i ■e ai New Tork. N. T.. as second-class matter." JANUARY 20, 1904. No, 1872. THE turn for the worse which the course of prices on the Stock Exchange has taken during the past week, is merely one of the inevitable reactions which cannot be avoided in the long process of readjustment which is taking place in security values. This particular reaction has indeed been brought abouf hy a consensus of bad news. Railroad earnings are beginning to be discouraging; the steel trade, inspite of some activity in wire nails, tubes, bars, and structural shapes, has not been picking up as much as has been expected; the situation in the Far East has taken a turn for the worse; and the violent speculation iu cot¬ ton undoubtedly has an unsettling effect. It is no wonder, conse¬ quently, that the selling was better than the buying—particu¬ larly in view of the fact that the speculators whose purchases caused the advance last week, were not able to secure much out¬ side support for their bull movement. It is apparent that under existing conditions no quick or prolcnged rise is possible. Business prospect do not justify iL, and there is no money for the purpose. The money market ia really the way to the situa- ation, aud there will not be for the present any margin over and above what is needed by business commitments which have practically been already made. But any severe fall is generally unlikely, provided business does uot become any worse than it is. It will be a waiting speculative market in which prices will go up or down in obedience to the news of the day and the exigencies of the technical speculative situation. I THE rapid transit situation is ijecoming interesting. Tire Intertiorougii Coinpany. tlirougli Mr. McDonald lias again made application for Lexington Avenue and Broadway subways; and tliey do so with an assumed luit amusing unconsciousness of tile criticisms wliich have been passed on the Broadway route. Oh the other hand, the Interurban Company, it is announced, is also preparing a plan which includes a lower West Side and an upper East Side extension—the East Side tunnel following the line of Lexington Avenue and the West Side tunnel the line of Eighth Avenue and West Broadway. This route is promising, but can hardly be criticised untii the details are definitely stated. In the meantime we cannot refrain expressing a doubt whether the competition, which is apparently heginning between these 1 a bill. -.-lllii ronstnnt development ot Fifth Avenue as tbe business i llinroiigbtare on which are situated the most expensive retail shops, makes it more than ever Important that steps should be taken to widen the roadway of' that avenue. The congestion of the .carriage tralHc during the busy part of the afternoon oh Ibat thoroughfare has been worse than ever this winter, and has resulted in most annoying and exasperating delays, and this longestlon wiii, ot course, become more and more annoying as time goes on. One great advantage of Fifth Avenue for what Is known as the carriage trade-that is tor the people who shop in carriages-is the fact that, unlike Twenty-third Street and Broadway, it is tree from trolley cars, but this advantage is 1-eing sacrificed because the roadway is too narrow to accommo¬ date the large and Increasing number of carriages whose owners arc tempted to use it. Moreover, this roadway could be widened' without any great expense; THB number of transactions in real estate reported here¬ with is smaller than it was during the preceding week; but it is as usual very much larger than during the cor¬ responding week last year. There can be no doubt, however, that in order to obtain a fair idea of the significance of this ac¬ tivity some of the wind must be let out of the wheels by a large puncture. While a great deal of trading is being done in Har¬ lem, and particularly in the upper part thereof, it is not so large as it seems, liecause some of the operators interested therein are undoubtedly using the newspapers to make the movement ap¬ pear to be livelier than it really is. With whatever deductions we may make on this score, however, it remains lively enough, and will result in a great deal of building this spring. The trad¬ ing has not developed any new characteristics. It is interesting to note that a better demand Is setting for residences in the northern part of the city, and the sales include a number of dwellings of a comparatively good class, both on the East Side and on the West Side. The latter section also contributes to the budget several sales of elevator apartment-houses, which will help to release builders' capital in that vicinity. The hulk of the transactions, however, both in vacant lots and in ffats continue to take place in Harlem. On the whole, the market exhibits a broadening tendency which may be expected to become still more apparent soon. During the next few weeks some interest¬ ing auction sales of lower East Side and West Side property will be held, which will test the demand in this branch of the market—which ought, under existing conditions, to be good dur¬ ing the spring. i well known, the sidewalks are exceptionally wide because property-owners have been appropri¬ ating part ot them for stoops under revocable permits; and the time has come when these permits should be revoked and the space which is gained thereby, thrown into the roadway. The remodeling ot the old residences for business purposes, which has been proceeding so rapidly during the past few years, has resulted in a great many cases in the voluntary removal of the stoops- and while it would cause trouble and expense to do away With them in those instances, in which the houses are still Inhabited as residences, it would be a Justifiable step to take provided property-owners were given several years m which to make the change. Of course, it would not he necessary to apply this remedy further north than Forty-seventh Street and south of that line the property-owners, so far from ob¬ jecting to it should welcome any means taken to widen the roadway in that it would very much increase the availability of the avenue as a business thoroughfare. Indeed, the business houses aituated on the avenue should organize for this purpose and never cease agitation for the widening until it is accom¬ plished. To the Editor of The Record a»d Guide: The Bostwick bill for the exemption of mortgages from an¬ nual taxation. Is a measure ot vital Importance to the real estate interests of New York. Conceding that there may be mmor errors in drafting the bill which need correction and conceding further that any tax or mortgages-even with a recording tax of tiv mills-is wrong in principle, it would seem to be good common sense for all interested to unite in working to secure the passage ot this bill. To tax real estate at full value and also to tax the mortgage on it. is obviously double taxation. But to hold out for this principle, after ten years of fruitless effort to secure mortgage exemption, and in the face both ot oppcsltlon from up the State and of the need for added State revenue, is surely not practical. The good effects of a. mortgage exemption bill cannot be esti¬ mated in advance. What proportion of the $350,000,000 an¬ nually loaned on New Tork city real estate pays a personal tax? What added millions would be loaned if secure from the risk ot being mulcted ot 1% per cent, ot the 4 per cent., or 37% per oent of their Income? The best judges say that an immense demand for tax exempt New York city mortgages would result, which would reduce interest rates probably by Va ot 1 per cent, per annum; a boon to all real estate owners, flrst by lowering the charges (or carrying real estate, and second, by Increasing the value of real estate through the double operation of a higher yield on the eduity, and a lower rate ot capitalization of income in harmony with lower interest rates. There is certainly the strongest incentive for all real estate owners, investors and builders to work for this just bill. The Governor is reported to favor it. and the prospects for its pas¬ sage are bright. If all interested will speak in no uncertain tones to their representatives at Albany, the bill will become ,jj„, RICHARD M. HURD, President Lawyers' Mortgage Company. The foregoing letter from Mr. Hurd speaks admirably for the well-informed opinion among New York property-owners and their representatives in respect to the Bostwick bill. If,