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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 77. no. 1974: January 13, 1906

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January 13, 1906 RECORD AND GUIDE 47 E5TABUSHED^MWV;H2l'-i^l868. DE^'tED ID f^LEsTAJI.B^llLDl^'G TJ^RofiTEcrrui^E.HouseholdDECORAnwi. Bi/sii/ESs AifoThemes ofGeKeivI- Interest. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Published eVery Saturday Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET. 14-16 Vesey Street, New York Telephone, Cortlandt 3157 "JSnlei-ed at the Post 0.ffice at Wew York, N. Y.. as second-class mailer." Vol. LXXVIL JANUARY 13, 1906. No. 1974 INDEX TO DEPARTMENTS. Advertising Section, Page, Page, Cement.....................xxv Law.......................xl Clay Products..............xxiv Machinery....................iv Consulting Engineers..........v Metal Work................xxi Contractors aud Builders,., .viii Quick Job Directory.........xxix Electrical Rea! Estate...................xiii Fireproofing..................ii Roofers and Roofing Materials, .x Granite....................xxvi Stone.....................xxvl Heating....................xxii Wood Products...........xxviii Iron and Steel..............xx IT looks as if the bull speculation jn stocks, which has been under way, with certain Inevitable set-backs, for a year and a half, is now reaching its culminating stage—the stage at which stocks are distributed to the public at the highest possible level. During all this period there has been a larger or smaller par¬ ticipation by the public in the market, but for the most part the campaign has been carried on by certain bold and wealthy professional speculators, who were strong and capable enough to carry on such a huge operation. These men accumulated long lines of stocks at lower levels, and they have counted upon gradually attracting enough following among the non-profes¬ sional speculators to enable them to sell their stocks at much higher prices. They seem to be succeeding in this attempt. Recently the genera! public participation in the market has been largely increased, and it is apparent that stocks are being distributed in considerable quantities. How much longer the distribution can take place is doubtful, but it does not seem as if it can continue very much longer. The people who buy with¬ out judgment are also easily scared, and if the market turns against them they sell in a panic. There is no indication that such a stage has been reached yet. The market may continue active and on the whole advancing for some months to come; but it is well to keep In mind that the pendulum is approach¬ ing the end of its swing. That it will react as far as it did in 1903 there is no reason to suppose, because enormous strides have since been made in increasing and establishing the values of leading railroad and industrial securities; but the time is not far distant when it will be the wise course to accumulate money in the bank in the expectation of being able to buy stocks con¬ siderably cheaper. THE veal estate market has lost none of its accustomed activity during the past week, but Its only noticeable feature has been the increasing number of sales of vacant property on Washington Heights for improvement. These sales are not only more numerous than they have been recently, but they are more numerous than they were at the same time last year. It is apparent that the erection of apartment and tenement houses on the Heights will proceed at a more rapid rate during 190G than it did during 1905. In 1905 the amount oi: money spent upon the Heights and on the upper East Side was approximately equal; but in 1906 the latter section is likely far to surpass the former. Indeed, it will not be many years before almost all the new tenement-house building in Man¬ hattan will take place on the Heights, There is comparatively little vacant land remaining in Harlem and on the Bast Side available for improvement. In these districts existing dwell¬ ings will be frequently replaced by tenements; but this process is necessarily a slow one. As to the West Side the unimproved land which remains is for the most part so high-priced that it will have to be improved with fire-proofed apartment houses; and there is not room for the construction of many such build¬ ings in one year. Washington Heights and Inwood are the most available sections, and they will be built over with re¬ markable rapidity. • The building machinery of iVIanhattan, which has been working over a much wider area, wil! be more largely concentrated upon one section, and it will dotibtless effect the expenditure of between ?30,000,000 to $40,000,000 each year in this neighborhood. THE Tax Department has found it possible to add a very large sum to the total assessed valuation of real estate in the city of New York, The net increase in the total amounts ■ to over 5480,000,000, which is much larger than that of the two preceding years, and has been surpassed in the previous history of the city only when the general percentage of assessment was raised in 1902. The expansion is the result chiefly of the general increase in price, which has taken place in the value of vacant land on the outskirts of the city. It is true that an enormous building movement was In progress in 1905, but the money spent in building during the past year has not served largely to Increase the assessment roll which has just been opened. The new buildings, which are now assessed for taxa¬ tion for the first time, are most of them buildings which were completed in the winter of 1904-5, and such buildings probably do not account for much more than one-fourth of the whole in¬ crease. The other three-fourths is due to the rise iu the price of the land itself; and this fact is clearly proved by the way in which the $480,000,000 of additional assessed value is pro¬ portioned among the several boroughs. The Bronx shows the largest proportional increase of about $84,000,000, or 30 per cent., and not over $30,000,000 of this can be traced to new buildings, Brooklyn comes next with almost $119,000,000 of increase, or about 13 per cent,, while Queens is a close third, with $17,000,000 of increase, or 12 per cent. The percentage of increase in IVIanhattan is only 7; but the total is $258,000,000, and of this not more than $75,000,000 can he traced to new buildings. The rest of it is due chiefly to the augmentation of ground values which has taken place in Harlem and on Washington Heights. Of course the part of Fifth avenue de¬ voted to the retail trade and the adjacent side streets has also contributed many millions of dollars to the total; but it will be found that the major portion of it has been derived from vacant land, which has been increased in value by the operation of the Subway. THIS large Increase in assessed valuations should have two very desirable results. It will probably mean a small de¬ crease in the tax rate, and it will certainly mean also a corre¬ sponding enlargement of the city's power of borrowing money. The second of these results is a matter of prime Importance. It will mean that the debt margin will amount on July 1st to over $100,000,000, and out of this sum it should be possible to devote, if necessary, $30,000,000 to new rapid transit construc¬ tion. This sum is not as large as it should be, but it will be 'sufficient to enable the Rapid Transit Commission to proceed with the construction of a municipal subway system, provided it cannot obtain sufficiently favorable terms from private cor¬ porations, and provided the Legislature grants to the Commis¬ sion the necessary power. Moreover it is extremely probable that during the next few years the assessed valuation of real estate will be increased by a sum almost, if not quite, as large as tbe increase of the current year, and in this case it should be possible to appropriate every year $15,000,000 to sub¬ way construction. With this amount of money at its disposal, the Commission could build subways almost as fast as is de¬ sirable, and certainly no better investment could be made of the city's money. On the other hand, if none of the enlarged borrowing capacity is necessary for subway construction, a regular appropriation should be made by the Board of Esti¬ mate towards the carrying out of some comprehensive plan of street improvements. This all-Important matter goes over from year to year, and absolutely nothing is accomplished in reference to it except talk. Whole sections of Manhattan, now neglected, could be made much more active and valuable by the opening up of a few connecting streets and by the widening of others already in existence. When will New York have an administration which attaches proper Importance to a thorough¬ going improvement of the plan of the city? THE prospects for a repeal of the mortgage tax are, if any¬ thing, better than they have been. There was nothing in the Governor's message to encourage the opponents of the tax; but, on the other hand, there was nothing, aa might have been feared, to make their cause entirely hopeless. The Gover¬ nor adopted distinctly an apologetic attitude in reference to the operations of the mortgage tax law. He did not claim that the law had been a success from any point of view. He only claimed (1) that it was an improvement on the former mettiod of taxing mortgages under the property tax, and (2) that the new tax had not been in operation long enough to give it a fair chance. There would be something in this first contention, pro¬ vided the only alternative to assessing mortgages under the general property tax. was the existing annual tax of one half of one per cent., but Inasmuch as the alternatives of total