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Why housing prices continue to skyrocket.

Buckle up, my friends. Today’s Apex features some deep and excellent reading. These articles are long and/or thoughtful, so they’re going to take more time than normal to browse. (They did for me, anyhow.) In the end, though, I think you’ll find them worth it.

Why housing prices continue to skyrocket. [/r/toronto on Reddit] — This is a long comment in a thread about the rising cost of housing. The commenter has been following and documenting the issue for years, and they’ve collected all sorts of links that explain why home prices are soaring even as supply has increased and demand diminished. Short version: Institutional investment in housing is completely changing the housing market. I had never considered any of this before. I find it fascinating…and a little scary.

Rent prices versus income in major U.S. and Canadian cities. [The Measure of a Plan] — This is an interactive widget (no real text to speak of) that plots average rent in major cities against average household income. It’s all averages and it’s all stats, but it’s still fascinating. Kim and I are about to rent for the first time in decades, and we don’t know where we want to live, so this is a useful tool for us.

Are index funds hurting the economy? [The Atlantic, so possible paywall] — “Economists, policy makers, and investors are worried that American markets have become inert—the product of a decades-long trend, not a months-long one. For millions of Americans, getting into the market no longer means picking stocks or hiring a portfolio manager to pick them for you. It means pushing money into an index fund.” This is an interesting (if alarmist) article.

How insurance works. [/r/povertyfinance on Reddit] — “This week, I will help you understand how insurance policies really work without you falling asleep. This will enable you to make better informed decisions as to what insurance coverages you should get, and what are simply a waste of money…The key concept underlying all insurance is the principle of pooling risks. In a nutshell, it is the practice of spreading out risk amongst a group of participants.” This is an excellent intro to insurance.

Okay, after all that heady, serious stuff today, let’s have a little fun. Here’s a fun video from the Twitter feed of Missy Elliott in which the insanely-talented W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew dances to one of her songs on the NYC subway.

True story: I desperately wish I could dance…but I can’t. I’m like the world’s worst dancer. But I love watching others who know how!

That’s a wrap on Wednesday. I’ll see you tomorrow with more of the best from the world of personal finance (and beyond).