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or paid off in full. These were small ones rom $500 to $1,800, the land mortgaged being the homestead of the mortgagor. There are of course some exceptions, which are due, however, either to lack of sobriety or ill health. It is a very common thing for a whole family, father, mother and children, to unite forces and purses, not only to pay off the mortgage and interest but to keep taxes and assessments settled. There are also a number of mortgages foreclosed each year for the sole purpose of making title or clearing up some disputed point, possibly five to eight per cent of the foreclosed mortgages coming under this head."
For Union county, Judge Gilhooly, of Elizabeth and Counsellor G. Berry, of Rahway, respectively report installment payments to be rare, except on mo tgages held by buil-ing associations. Counsellor Neighbour, of Dover, Morris county, considers them also rare, purchase money mortgages being about the only class in regard to which the practice is followed. To the same effect is the experience of Potter & Nixon, of Bridgeton, Cumberland county: “Mortgages given for purchase money are often paid off by installment; those taken as investments, rarely." Counsellor Newcomb, of Vineland, in the same county, thinks that in his part,“ nearly all the farm mortgages are paid slowly, in installments." For Atlanlantic county, Counsellor Abbott estimates “perhaps one-fourth of those that pass under my notice.” Alike ratio holds good for Burlington county, in the opinion of Counsellor Gaskill, of Mount Holly.
The following remaining extracts from the correspondence received from the lawyers previously mentioned, refer to the so-called rural counties :
SOMERSET: “There may be some instances where payments are made on account of the principal of a mortgage on farm lands, but these are very few and in many cases the debts are being increased. Mortgages on town property are in a much better condition and I think are being reduced.- J. J. Bergen, Somerville.
HUNTERDON : “About one-third are being paid off by installments; but this estimate may be a trifle high."—H. A. Fluck, Flemington.
GLOUCESTER: "There have not been to any great extent payment
of mortgages by installments, except, of course, those to building associations. This results from disinclination on the part of the mortgagees to accept part payment where the security is good, and in other cases the mortgagors are too poor to do it. The building association loans are largely made on urban property.”—Robert S. Clymer, Woodbury.
Sussex: “Mortgages on town property are paid largely by gradual yearly reduction. Those on farming lands are placed as permanent investments; very few are reduced by yearly payments, and it is a rare thing to hear of a farmer wiping out his indebtedness.". Theodore Sin.onson, Newton.
WARREN: “There are few mortgagors in his region who pay installments. I do not believe ten per cent. of the total number of mortgages is thus liquidated, nor ten per cent of the total indebtedness.”—Henry L. Harris, Belvidere.
"I do not think many mortgages are thus paid.”—Wm. H. Morrow, Belvidere.
"The system of partial payments is not general.”—Oscar Jeffery, Washington.
As will be seen from the summary at the close of the chapter, the average life of 9,114 mortgages foreclosed between 1870 and 1888, that is the time elapsed between the execution of the mortgage and the final decree in the foreclosure proceedings, was 9 years; or 874 years for mortgages on “lots," or urban, suburban and speculative property generally, and 9% years for those on “acres," under which have been included not only those lands which were manifestly agricultural, but also tracts about which there was more or less doubt. This, so far as existing mortgages on city and town real estate is concerned, tallies fairly well with the opinions of the gentlemen already referred to, as well as with the calculations based on transcripts from the Essex county records for 1870, 1875, 1880 and 1885 to 1888 inclusive. On rural property, it is generally agreed that mortgages remain longer than on urban, a number of correspondents affirming that as a rule the life of a mortgage on farm property is co equal with that of the mortgagor. It is safe to assume, therefore, that the average term given above is too low.
There were recorded in this State, from 1880 to 1888 inclusive 155,500 mortgages. The average amount of the mortgages made by individual borrowers, exclusive of those by corporations in Essex county, was $2,200. On this basis, which is probably higher than the State average,* assuming nine years, as stated above, to be the average life of a mortgage, the total sum of existing real estate mortgage indebtedness in New Jersey would approximate $356,095,000, or nearly 70 per cent of the total assessed real estate valuation in 1888, $5 19,103,972, which was hardly more than 50 per cent of the actual value. This estimate, however, is extreme, not only because based on the average of the Essex mortgage, which is larger than elsewhere, except possibly in Hudson county, but be., cause no account has been taken of partial payments. These must amount to one-third of the aggregate principal of the building and loan mortgages ($14,000,000), and there is some evidence that this ratio nearly holds good for the total mortgages given; but this, perhaps, may be offset by the low estimate of the life of the average mortgage on which the foregoing calculations have been based.
According to conservative estimates, one-sixth of all the mortgages recorded during the past few years were on farm property— the number varying from a small fraction in the urban counties (1 per cent in Essex) to over 60 per cent. in the rural counties. Assuming that the average farm mortgage lasts but nine and onethird years, this would mean at least 27,000 farm mortgages, and that nearly 80 per cent. of our farms are mortgaged-an estimate, which, however, does not take into consideration “second' , mortgages. At $1,100 (the average Essex county mortgage), the total mortgage indebtedness on New Jersey farm lands would be not far from 30,000,000, † or an annual interest burden of $1,800,000. If there has been a depreciation of 40 per cent. in farm valuest since 1879-80, when the assessed valuation of our farms was $190,895,800, this would be at present $115,000,000, mort
*Mortgages from $50,000 to $200,000 in Essex county are not infrequently recorded. The average amount of the decrees for the principal and interest of individual mortgages, foreclosed in the whole State from 1880 to 1888 inclusive, was $3,500.
There were during the past nine years 16 foreclosure executions to every mortgage recorded during that time in the seven so-called rural counties. Taking this ratio, and assuming the life of a farm mortgage to be as above stated, the result would be 27, 920 farm mortgages for the State; or, at $1,100 per mortgage, $30, 712, 000 of indebtedness.
* Estimate of the Committee of State Board of Agriculture. SU. S. Census.
gaged to the extent of somewhat over 26 per cent. This calculation takes no account of other incumbrances than real estate mortgages, and has been made on a very low estimate of the life of farm mortgages. A similar calculation made for the so-called rural counties of Burlington, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Salem, Somerset, Sussex and Warren, would go to show that the farming lands in those localities are mortgaged to the extent of 37 per cent. of their value; but as already reminded, all such estimates, for want of exact information, are of little value in arriving at the actual state of facts.
The records of Essex county are evidence that the interest-rate, so far as the urban localities are concerned, is decreasing, and that the majority of mortgages are now placed at 5 per cent. and less. The following table shows the number of mortgages recorded in the years stated in Essex county, and the interest-rates paid thereon:
Another matter of considerable interest is the extent of mortgage indebtedness to corporations, especially to building and loan associations, banks and trust companies and insurance companics. When corporations themselves are borrowers, as, for example, in the case of railroad companies, the large sums required almost always necessitate corporations as mortgagees, such as trust or insurance companies, although the number of corporation mortgagors is comparatively small.* If the same conditions prevail in the rest of the State as in Essex county, there has been a large increase in the number of corporation mortgagees during the past few years, and also in the amount loaned, if several extensive railroad loans of former years are excepted. This increase is to be credited mostly to the building and loan associations, which, in Essex county, in 1888, placed 53 per cent. of the number and 32 per cent. of the amount of all the mortgages made by corporations,† that is, 29 and 35 per cent., respectively, of the aggregate recorded:
PER CENT OF TOTAL MORTGAGES TO CORPORATIONS MADE TO
2. *In Essex and Camden counties, there were but 21 and 36, respectively, in 1888; and 12 and 27, respectively, in 1887. But the aniount borrowed was large.
+1,121 mortgages and $3,67, 197 in amount loaned. $ Including those to individuals.