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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 77, no. 1993: May 26, 1906

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May 26, 1906 RECORD AJND GUIDE 991 ESTABUSHH)-^ MARCH ?iy>lBS8. DPi6TEDpfty^LE:STAIZ.BuiLDIjlo j\R.GKlTE(nURf,KoilSE«OU)DEQQHJTKltf. Birsi»/Ess AifoThemes of CEitovi. 1i/ PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Fubliihtd eVery Satardap Communications should bo addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street. New York ) Telephone, Cortlandt 3157 "Unlered al the Post .Office at I^exo York. jV. T., as seco-nd-clasi mailer.' Vol. LXXVIL MAT 26, 1906. No. 1993 INDEX TO DEPARTMENTS. Advertising Section. Page. Page. Cement .....................xxiii Law ..........................xi Consulting Engineers ......,...x Lumber .................xxviii Clay Products ...............xxii Machinery ..................iv Contractors and Builders ......v Metal Work ................xvii Electrical Interests..........viii Quick Joh Directory..........xxv Fireproofing .................iii Real Estate ................xiii Granite .....................xxvi Roofers & Rooflng Materials. xxiv ■Heating .....................xx Stone .......................xxvi Iron and Steel .............xviii Wood Products ............xxix WALL STEEET seems to have reached an impasse. The market may be said to he in the "doldrums." Who has not seen famous racing yachts under such conditions? They are either, as in Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, "as idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean," or little catspaws of wind cause their sails to flap feebly. Every equipment for motion is embodied in each one of them, and yet none is able to move, save as they may drift with the tide. There are no favoring breezes nor even head winds. The stock market is in precisely this condition. All the facts are bull facts, and a great de¬ cline having occurred the market should move forward. In¬ stead of which it is drifting—the tendency being backward. Should, however, this tendency be arrested, there is no reason why a new season of speculation should not be inaugurated. Yesterday's marlvet sliowed a decided upward movement. The most pronounced bears acknowledge that the basic condi¬ tions continue good, but they point to the declining market and claim that its action is discounting. Something not yet appar¬ ent on the surface. They further do not hesitate to express fears of the widespread real estate speculation now going on throughout the country and they claim that it is an unvarying index of tlie culmination of the general period of speculation, and that the halt in Wall Street always goes before a complete halt in extensive real estate dealings. It is just as well to give _ both sides of the question of the immediate future in Wall Street. It will be wise on the part of real estate operators to watch the financial markets closely. So far as these paragraphs are concerned, the Record and Guide will endeavor to reflect in them the consensus of opinion and present tbe facts with special reference to their bearing on reai estate ventures. The immediate future, in both regards—that is to say, from the optimistic as well as the pessimistic point of view, is certainly highly interesting. Here we have easy money, railroad busi¬ ness the largest ever known, labor fully employed and money in active circulation, while at tlie same time we have the anomoly of a depressed and declining stock market practically since the first of the year.' Commission houses are deserted. They are idle without customers. In Monte Carlo phraseology —as has been well said—the croupiers at the tables of specu¬ lation are playing with each other and the numbers that are called out as the wheel sluggishly revolves have no significance. The technical condition of the stock market also calls for re¬ mark. Of course what will happen if the stocks being sold these days do not belong to the sellers, and otherwise speak¬ ing, are short sales, and the real owners of stocks do not take fright—is that tbe short sellers will have to recover their stocks in the market. The consequence would be that they might in this way put the market up on themselves. Yet it cannot be said that there is at present, br there is likely to be a short interest sufficiently extended to advance the whole market. It is more within the bounds of probability that there will be sporadic advances such as indicated in these columns last week. In reviewing gene^-al conditions, one thing is evi¬ dent as it is decidedly gi'atifying.. E''J''ops li^s perfect confi¬ dence, in the stability of Am^ricaa.finanGes. ,The stream of gold . from France, Germany and England continues to fiow hither- ward and would, if permitted, become literally a torrent. This fact with our excess of exports over imports is assuredly not an argument in favor of lower prices. How Europe regards us is strikingly illustrated by the statement from Paris that the Pennsylvania Railroad Company sold in the French capital $50,000,006 of bonds. This is said to be the first time an Ameri¬ can corporation has taken a loan in France, another evidence of the position of the United States as a world power. 'T^HE amplitude of the security which the City of New York ■*■ furnishes—or would be able on occasion to furnish—to those who buy its bonds, is imperfectly understood. The "assets" of the City of New York acquired through the purchase of the proceeds of bonds are constantly enhancing in value while the face value ■of the bonds remains the same. It is so with no other corporation, regarding the City of New York as a corporation in that sense. The roadbed, the rolling stock, the terminal structures and the bridges and culverts of a railroad corporation depreciate from use. The ships of a great steamship company, however large their cost or however en¬ lightened the ideas of their constructors, become, in a short time old-fashioned and the selling value of an ocean leviathan is one-half less, perhaps, than Its cost after a dozen years of service. It is so with factories and mills requiring elaborate and complex machinery,, and every such manufacturing concern- —the United Steel Corporation furnishes a handy illustration^ carries a "depreciation" account. The tangible assets of the City of New York, however, increase in value. "The Sun" on Sunday ha-d an article giving a concrete illustration of this in the ease of Central Park, acquired by the City as a site a little less than half a century ago. The original cost of Central Park as pointed out by "The Sun," was $12,500,000 and subsequent improvements have brought up the cost to a round $15,000,000. Most of the bonds issued for the acquisi¬ tion or improvement of the park have long since been paid off and the few which are still outstanding are not at a high rate of interest, but if the whole original payment of $15,000,000 were still outstanding at six per cent, interest for fifty years, the amount of this interest for the term would be 300 per cent, or $45,000,000, which would bring up the cost of the Central Park, principal and interest, to $60,000,000. But its present value (it is appraised at $185,000,000) is not less than ),000,000. GOOD CAUSE there is for the Allied Real Estate Interests and all others who worked for the great reformation to rejoice over the consummation signalized this week by the ■ Governor's approval of the Mortgage Recording Tax. The dinner to Senator Page, and the one to be given to Mr. Sands by the Lawyers' Club next week, are an assurance that even in. this somewhat sordid age there are elements who applaud cour¬ ageous devotion to public duty. This new law, superseding the one for an annual mortgage tax, will make a gi-eat difference to property interests. There is nothing that men are so much con¬ cerned in as property. For a very great many one-half of one per cent, turned the scale from hope to disappointment. In the last few weeks a very noticeable slackening of real estate and building btisiness has been attributed ■ to the effects of the former law. Mortgages recorded after July 1 will now have to- pay but one tax and be thereafter exempt, but those which will be recorded before that date will be subject to the local tax on mortgages of t\!«) per cent.^at least to the same extent as here¬ tofore. Mr. Lawson Purdy, Secretary of the Tax Reform Asso¬ ciation, suggests in another part of this paper a way of avoiding this consequence. Practically, mortgages that will be filed after July 1 will be tax exempt, and, as Mr. Sands points out in an¬ other place, they will be on a par in that respect with Govern¬ ment, State and Municipal bonds; and so should in time attract a great deal of new capital into this field, with the ultimate effect of giving greater encouragement to building, home-own- - ing and real estate expansion generally than ever before. If it shall work out this way, the change, coming at a time when new rapid transit routes are opening up a wide territory to settlement, the now departed annual tax law may in after years seem a blessing in disguise. Appreciation for the work of the Secretary's office of the Allied Interests is a deep and wide¬ spread sentiment. Its organizing methods were exceedingly thorough. True, it rallied rather than made public sentiment, but its work was none the less valuable. The real estate interests of New- York State and New York City were never before so well co-ordinated, and it is a good omen for the future of prop¬ erty interests that the organization is a permanency—for there are other great things to do.