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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 81, no. 2083: February 15, 1908

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February 15, 1908 RECORD AND GUIDE 283 ESTABUSHnr^ SiftRpU 21ii> i 86 8, Bi/snfeSBAttoTHEMEsbf Gqto^l IKtcrest.. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET Publisfied Every Saturday By THE RECORD AND GUIDE CO. President. CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F. W. DODGE Vlce-Pres. & Genl. Mgr.. H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F. T. MILLER Nos. 11 to 15 East 24(b Street, New York CUy (Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4433,) "Entered at the Post Office at Nein York, N. Y., ns si-c(!i(f-oir;.s,? molliy." Copyrighted, 10O7, by The Record & Guile Co Vol. LXXXl. FEBRUARY 15, 1908. No. 2083. INDEX TO DEPARTMENTS. Advertising Section. Page Page Cement .......................xiv Lumber .....................xv Clay Products ..........;.....xvi Metal Work ..................xi Consulting Engineers .........xii Quick Job Directory...........vii Contractors and Builders......ii Real Estate ....................v Electrical Interests ...........xii Roofers & Roofing Materials.,xiv Fireproofing ..................x Stone .......................xvii Granite ....................xvii Wood Products ..............xv Iron aud Steel................xiii WHEN THE SPRING shall turn men's thoughts again to building, the dwelling-house rather than the tenement will probably under the reasons that will then prevail re¬ ceive the first attention, and for a period be the subject of the most business activity. This will be naturally in those parts of the Bronx and Brooklyn where frame construction is lawfully and financially possible, and in Queens, Richmond, Westchester and the Jerseys. As a general prophecy this is accepted as probably true among architects and builders, but the determination of the precise localities to be most favored for operations awaits a better understanding of the subway situation, and especially the directions which the next exten¬ sions will take. Very important to the building trades and all depending on them is an early and favorable decision by the Public Service Commissioners and the Board of Estimate of the great transit question now before them. One hundred and eighty-four thousand men are now idle in this city; not all structural mechanics, but all affected by the suspension of building operations. No one thing which the administration could do for the sake of the general good at this crisis would be more effective than to begin the construction immediately, or cause to be started by others, of a tri-borough subway. The financiering details apart, it is the signal for which the local business interests are waiting, to give direction to their powers and inspiration for their planning. It ought to be sufficiently plain that business interests at large will not submit to seeing all their hopes for transit relief buried in a remote suburb of Brooklyn when ordinary business sagacity unites with civic equity in advising the apportioning of the available fund between Manhattan and the Bronx as well. Under existing circumstances the time for a general revival of building for multi-family houses here in Manhattan can¬ not be set, but with the opening of new routes to the towns in Queens and Kings, there is every probability of a great number of dwellings being erected iu those directions, and for other reasons in the northern suburbs aud on the Jersey shore also. ARCHITECTS see evidence that there will be more in¬ dividual building this year than has been customary of late. Master mechanics looking for contracts rather than for. building loans, and laymen inquiring In regard to plans and probable costs, are cases in point. Moreover, these private builders will have ways of financing their undertakings in¬ dependently of local lending institutions. Notwithstanding the stringency In the worn channels of finance a large ag¬ gregate of means is available for home-building in private ac¬ counts, accumulated for no other purpose than home-build¬ ing, and waiting only for a favorable opportunity. A visiting builder from another city, who was here this week looking for a field of operations, decided to return later when transit circumstances are more certain. He will arrange for finances elsewhere. An architect who has designed a number of our finest city buildings expects to give his principal attention this year to suburban work. The present dullness in many lines is a reason why other doors of opportunity should open; and while so many mechanics are idle this winter, it must not be Inferred that they are Impoverished. The self-sus¬ taining power of the average family in America is very great. The real estate market is steadily regaining buoyancy, with money becoming more plentiful and cheaper. A significant feature of general business is the presence iu the city of an unprecedented number of buyers. They want to buy cheaply, it is true, but it is none the less a sign of a restoration of public confidence and the imminence of normal conditions. In metropolitan building works a considerable period of time is required for gathering full headway. The height of activ¬ ity is approached by successive stages, usually beginning with small work on the edges of the city, which now ordinarily amounts to a large aggregate, and keeps occupied large forces of men until better engagements offer in more central sec¬ tions. Of the larger aud louger contracts a good number have been scheduled, and iu general dealers in building ma¬ terials predict that conservative hopes will not be disap¬ pointed in the amount of business that will be offered during the current year. A BILL Intended to meet a very real difficulty in the ad¬ ministration of the tax department provides for dis¬ closing the actual consideration whenever a transfer of real estate is made. The bill is also intended to meet a difficulty which confronts the city government when obliged to acquire private property for public purposes by purchase or con¬ demnation. Whether or not the measure furnishes a saEisfac- tory solution, it will be considered seriously by all those in¬ terested in real estate transactions and in the welfare of the city. It is contended by some that ignorance of the true con¬ sideration, and the consequent difference of opinion on the part of expert appraisers as to values, deter many from in¬ vesting ill real estate, and on the opposite side there may be a fear that the knowledge of the consideration for actual transfers would reduce the opportunity for speculative profits. There are those who object to the requirement that the price of real estate shall be disclosed, but it is undoubtedly the fact that the daily quotation of staple products helps to make an active market. It helps the market because a prospective buyer knows that he is not paying more than others under similar circumstances, and anyone may buy at the market price when he thinks prices are likely to rise. Even retail prices can be ascertained readily by anyone who cares to ask, and it is practically impossible for any dealer in com¬ modities to conceal his prices, even if he so desires. Real estate is almost the sole subject of purchase and sale the prices for which are extensively concealed. It is possible that the fashion of inserting a nominal consideration in deeds grew up in this city because real estate was assessed at only a small fraction of its value, and the law gave no relief to those who were overassessed, unless the assessment exceeded the market value; and it may be that the custom also arose in part through the desire of operators to resell at a higher price. The usage is by no means universal, even where an active real estate market obtains, and in some places it never seems to occur to anybody to either omit the consideration or to have it falsely stated, Umler such circumstances ex¬ perience teaches that a larger profit can be obtained by first hanrls than by any subsequent purchaser, and one effect of this bill would be to encourage building operations. The present bill does not, absolutely require the. selling, price to- be put into tbe deed, for, from our reading, anyone by paying two hundred dollars as a penalty may evade the requirement. In a small transaction it might be worth that much to some not to have the price disclosed even to the tax commissioners, but in the case of a large one the expressed penalty wouid be no object. Analyzed, what the bill seems to require is only a private statement to the tax commissioners, the effect of the compliance with which would, of course, practically in¬ dicate iu due time on the tax rolls, if not what was paid, then the sum which the department thought ought to have been. THE PURPOSE of the Senate bill introduced by Mr. Travis is not, as is explained by Comptroller Metz, to enlarge the power of the City of New York to incur actual indebtedness represented by obligation which must be met by taxation, but rather to enable it to invest its credit in the purchase of valuable assets and self-sustaining properties ab¬ solutely necessary to tbe public welfare. Exemption is asked for the debts hitherto and to be incurred for dock and rail¬ road properties that earn interest and sinking fund charges, the determination of fact to be made by the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, on application. The proposed constitu¬ tional amendment will have to be approved by the present