crown CU Home > Libraries Home
[x] Close window

Columbia University Libraries Digital Collections: The Real Estate Record

Use your browser's Print function to print these pages.

Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 84, no. 2169: October 9, 1909

Real Estate Record page image for page ldpd_7031148_044_00000677

Text version:

Please note: this text may be incomplete. For more information about this OCR, view About OCR text.
October 9, 1909 RECORD AND GUIDE 635 ^ ES7ABUSHED-^MABPH21'-J>'1868. DbM P I^LEsTATE.SuiLDiriG %:.rilTEernJR,E,KaUSEaoU)DE<3ffl(MlQI^^ BifsftfESs Alto Theses of GE|feRftl iKTERfaiv PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET Published Every Saturday By THE RECORD AND GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON W, SWEET Treasurer, F. W, DODGE VIce-Fres, & Genl, Mgr,, H, W. DESMOND Secretary, F, T. MILLER Nos. 11 to 15 East 24tl> Street, New York Ctty {Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4433,) "Entered at tlic Post Office at New York. N. Y.. as second-class matter." Copyrighted, 1009. by The Record £ Guide Co. would be politically impossible, Iiowever, to introduce the English system into New York, and it may be hoped that little by little the local voters will come to take more o[ au interest in questions of municipal economy. The current campaign, however it comes, out, will at least have the merit of familiarizing the voters with certain important aspects of the business administration of New York City. During three elections these purely business questions have beeu sub¬ ordinated to moral and personal issues, wliich, however important and interesting iu themselves, tended to obscure the fact that the city of New York is primarily a business corporation. The prominence which these business ques¬ tions will obtain during the campaign will at least enable the voters to estimate with more knowledge and accuracy the success cr failure of any administraLiou that may he elected. Vol, LXXXIV, OCTOBER 9, 1909, No, 21G9 THE increase in the rates for call money, which has prevailed in Wall Street of late, is probably only a temporary disturbance, and its effect upon the stock mar¬ ket has heen distinctly wholesome. It is wholly improhahle that the real estate and building market, will during the coming year be distiirbed. by any embarrassing scarcity ol loanable capital, because if for no other reason, the dominant financial interests will uot allow the speculative campaign for higher prices in securities to tie up too large a percentage of the available supply of floating capital. At the same time it must always be remembered that the inelastic currency system of the LInited States distinctly encourages alternate periods of excessive ease in the money market and excessive stringency, and one can never he quite sure that au ac¬ cumulation of speculative aud legitimate business demands on the money market may not suddenly snatch the situation out of the hands of the controlling financial interests. Those interests need to keep money comparatively easy, because of the large amouuts of new securities, which they will be obliged to float during the coming year; but there are cer- taizi factors in the situation which they cannot control—in spite of the object lesson in the necessity for control, which they received two years ago. They have no way of adapting the supply of loanable capital to the bnsiness needs of the country; and they can have uoue, until some kind of a central bank is organized, with a power of note issue, which can be properly regulated. There is no branch of business in the country that would be more benefitted by an efl'ec- tive regulation of the money market than the real estate and building interest. That interest suffers far more from periods of tight money than it gains from periods of easy money. During periods of easy money the interest rate even on thoroughly good mortgages never falls below a certain figure, whereas in periods of tight money the spec¬ ulators, the manufacturers and the merchants almost crowd the real estate borrower out of the market. A sound regu¬ lation of the supply of loanable capital would consequently, help the real estate borrower in periods of stringency with¬ out doing him any harm in periods of ease. It is only specu¬ lators in stocks and in general business who benefit from very low rates for call money. THERE is every evidence that the current municipal campaign will not arouse as much excitement among the voters as fhe last three municipal campaigns have done. The contest wil! lack the sharp personal mora! interest which it had on those former occasions. The most promi¬ nent issue di=cussed hy the campaign speakers will neces¬ sarily he that of municipal economy, and it is at the present time very difficult to make the New Yorker take a very eager interest in an issue of that description. When taxes are heing increased the immediate burden falls upon a few thousand tax-payers, and the hundreds of thouKands of ten¬ ants who constitute the voting population of the city do not have the fact of the increase brought home to them in any tangible way. Of course they will be obliged to pay most of the increase eventually, but when they pay th&y will uot know it, and it usually takes a good many years to distri¬ bute the increasing burdens among the actual tenants ot the buildings. This is one of the reasons why in England, where the tenants pay the taxes, the municipal voters take so much more interest in questions of municipal economy. It LAST SPRING it looked as if the proposed constitutional amendment of permitting the city to issue as much stock as it wants for subway construction would bulk large in the campaign; but events have since reduced this matter to one of subordinate importance. It is true that the plat¬ forms of the several municipal parties all of them favor subway construction with the funds of the city, and that consequently, the party voters will in all probability be in¬ structed to vote for the amendment. Inasmuch, however, as the funds of the city will net be required for the con¬ struction of new subways, it is unimportant whether tbe amendment is or is not passed. At least two responsible bid¬ ders have agreed to construct new subways with their own money under the indefinite franchises provided for by the new Rapid Transit Act, and it would of course he foolish for the city to use its credit for the huilding of new lines, unless it were necessary to do so. No doubt it is still on the whole advisable to adopt the con¬ stitutional amendment, because it is possible that the atti¬ tude of these bidders might change in case they saw that the city was physically disqualified frora protecting its own interest in a municipal subw-ay system. But we do not be¬ lieve that even though the amendment were defeated, the Interborough Co. and the Gaffney syndicate would refuse to make their bids under the existing law. They must realize that local public opinion is absolutely agreed upon demand¬ ing the effective municipal control of the subway system, and that the people of New York would submit to eveu fur¬ ther delays, rather than consent to any alteration in the ex¬ isting Rapid Transit Act. They want new subways badly, but they have decided that these means of communication shall not be alienated by the city even for so long a period as has the existing subw-ay. IN CONNECTION with the subway it is only fair to point out that the anti-Tammany speakers are wholly unjust to the existing Board of Estimate in criticizing it for not having appropriated more money for subway construction. The Board has cordially co-operated with the old and the new Rapid Transit Commission in all their plans for subway con¬ struction except one. It promptly approved the plans of the Id Board, and if those plans went astray it was only be¬ cause private capitalists would not and the city could not carry them out. Neither would it have been possible for the Board of Estimate to have authorized the construction of the Broadway-Lexington avenue route. The debt limit was absolutely prohibitive of any such action. The only sub¬ way which the Board of Estimate refused to finance which it could have financed was the Fourth avenue subway- in Brooklyn, and in this refusal the Board was wholly justified. Moreover it has received its justification at lhe hands of that very body which criticized it most virulently for its refusal —tliG Public Service Commission. Under the new law the" cost of the Fourth Avenue Subway will be levied on the [jroperty benefitted by its construrtion; aud the city will be spared tho expense which the Public Service commission wished to impose upon it, and which the Board of Estimate rightly refused to sanction. THERE can" he no doubt that during the past few montliH Times Square has been the location of the most inter¬ esting real estate developments. Indication.s are accumula¬ tive that the long expected business development of the Square is destined to take place during the next few years. It is true that the proposed improvements include two new hotels, and two new theatres, which will tend to keep the Square restricted to its existing employment. But, on the