Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/506

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Harlem River and Bronx Park the increase in land values due to the building of the subway was $31,300,000.

The report goes on to state that, while the increase in land values above 135th Street, due to the building of the subway, was $39,200,000, the cost of building the subway from this point to 230th Street was $7,375,000, or but 15 per cent of the actual rise caused by the new line. Similarly, the increase in the Bronx land values of more than thirty million dollars was caused by subway construction costing $5,700,000.[1]

These instances are typical of the land value increases which are so apparent in New York City. Other great centers of population, however, show similar conditions. Mr. C. B. Fillebrown, in his "The A-B-C of Taxation," cites some interesting illustrations of increases in the land value of Boston. For example, the land values irrespective of improvements,

on both sides of Winter Street, including the estates on the Tremont and Washington Street corners were in 1898, $61.57 per square foot; in 1907, $97.50 per square foot.[2]. . . The land in Winter Street, which was assessed at less than four dollars per square foot, in 1850, was assessed in 1907 at one hundred and thirty dollars per square foot. During the fifty-seven years intervening, the income, above taxes, from the land, in rent and appreciation has amounted to an average of one hundred and fifty per cent, annually on the investment of 1850.[3]

Similar illustrations might be cited in endless detail, showing the rise of land values in American cities. Even the casual observer must admit the very obvious facts of land value increase. The one thing needful is some accurate measure of their extent.

There are a few American cities in which a careful assessment of land independent of improvements has been made. In New York City, for example, the land and improvements have been separately assessed since 1906. The Report of the Commissioners of Taxes and Assessments for 1912 (pages 20-23) gives the land value assessments in considerable detail. The value of the land alone for Greater New York was, in 1906, 3,367 million dollars, and in 1912, 4,563 million dollars. This represents an increase in the per capita value of land from $811 in 1906 to $898 in 1912. Incidentally, the total value of all improvements in 1912 was only two billion, seven hundred and sixteen millions, or about three fifths of the total land value.

The boroughs separately show a considerable divergence in the ratio of increase. In the Borough of Manhattan, for example, the increase in

  1. "Building of Rapid Transit Lines in New York City." A memorandum addressed to the Board of Estimate and Appropriation by the City Club of New York, October 2, 1908.
  2. C. B. Fillebrown, "The A-B-C of Taxation," New York, Doubleday, Page and Company, 1912, p. 56.
  3. Ibid.