February 17, 2017

No One Seems Able To Stop This Gadarene Rush

It’s Friday desk clearing time for this blogger. “Federal Housing Administration mortgage delinquencies jumped in the fourth quarter for the first time since 2006, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. The FHA insures low down-payment loans and is a favorite among first-time homebuyers. The seasonally adjusted FHA delinquency rate increased to 9.02 percent in the fourth quarter from 8.3 percent in the third quarter, MBA data show. The jump, which followed the lowest delinquency rate since 1997, was driven by loans made since 2014 and early-stage delinquencies, those just 30 days past due.”

“There were, however, signs as recently as last fall that FHA loans were beginning to fail at a higher rate. In October, ATTOM Data Solutions, a foreclosure sales and analytics company, reported the biggest jump in foreclosure activity since 2007, with FHA loans behind the surge. ‘While some states are still slogging through the remnants of the last housing crisis, the foreclosure activity increases in states such as Arizona, Colorado and Georgia are more heavily tied to loans originated since 2009 — after most of the risky lending fueling the last housing boom had stopped,’ said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at Attom Data Solutions.”

“Since the start of 2017, Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust has seen an uptick in the number of people walking through its doors looking for help. The nonprofit provides foreclosure prevention services in a city where year after year foreclosures occur in higher numbers than elsewhere in the state. In 2016, the Park City reported 261 foreclosure deed filings, which transfer the deed to a lender after a mortgage is foreclosed, slightly higher than its 2015 total of 246 filings.”

“The fact that home prices dropped post-recession has also affected homeowners, said Doris Latorre, BNT’s director of foreclosure prevention. ‘Most of the folks we see in trouble in Bridgeport, their houses are upside down — they owe more than it is worth,’ she said.”

“The good news for renters: After several years of unbridled rent spikes across the City of Atlanta, data from 2016 suggest that trend might finally be cooling off, broadly speaking. The roughly 5,000 new units that hit the market in 2016 had a softening effect. Traditionally high-priced areas of Atlanta—the Buckhead and Peachtree Hills areas—actually recorded declines of up to 2.2 percent last year. That’s not a significant downturn, especially for high-roller renters, but it’s a jolting reversal of post-recession trends.”

“If you’re looking for a deal on a brand new apartment in downtown Chicago, it’s getting easier to find one. Amid a historic building boom, the downtown apartment market is tilting in favor of tenants, who have endured big rent hikes for several years. ‘We’re looking at a lot of giveaways,’ said Ron DeVries, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago-based consulting firm.”

“Houston’s low inventory of homes for sale may give the impression that the market leans in favor of sellers, but a new report shows that buyers may have the upper hand. Houston ranks as the nation’s fifth-best market for home buyers, according to Zillow. The company looked at the percentage of listings with a price cut and how long listing typically stay on the market. In the Houston region, 11 percent of listings have had price cuts. By comparison, 5.4 percent of listings in San Francisco — considered the best market for sellers — had price cuts. ‘A number of markets nationwide continue to struggle with slower job growth, weaker home value appreciation and higher rates of negative equity, giving buyers more negotiating power,’ Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell said.”

“Online agent HouseSimple reckons a third of properties for sale in the UK have had their asking prices reduced since they were first marketed, based on listing data. The agent looked at 100 large towns and cities across the UK and found that in eight the percentage of homes reduced was in excess of 40%. Of the three largest cities in the UK, London has the highest percentage of properties currently being marketed (30%) that have had a price reduction since they were initially listed. HouseSimple says this ’suggests that estate agents in the Capital are finding it harder to secure a sale and are having to drop asking prices to attract buyers.’”

“With low demand and oversupply of residential units in the market, real estate companies would be forced to reduce the rents by up to 30 percent in the near future, say industry experts. Instead of reducing the rents, several leading real estate companies have come out with attractive packages such as free occupancy up to six months in a bid to survive in the market. ‘Supply of housing units has surpassed the demand,’ Khalifa Al Maslamani, a Qatari real estate expert said in a talk-show on Qatar TV. ‘Owners of the buildings would have to reduce the rents by 20 to 30 percent due to low demand,’ he added.”

“In the summer of 2016, outside the office of a Cairo real estate company called Mountain View, a crush of hundreds of people had gathered, and they were in a frenzy. The crowd of men and women were there to reserve spaces in a new desert compound at a bargain price, hoping to sell it on a few weeks later for a big profit. Walid Salah-Ahmed, a real estate developer himself, ended up having to pull a woman out of the crowd after she fainted. He splashed water on her face, she came to, and got up and plunged right back into the crowd in the hopes of closing on an apartment.”

“But after authorities decided to float the Egyptian pound, and let the free market dictate the exchange rate, the boom days of real estate are probably over. ‘I think there’s a tremendous slowdown in the real estate sector,’ Salah-Ahmed said. ‘If this was a normal country, they would call this a crash.’”

“Malta’s landscape is today covered by cranes and many developers have been buying up derelict properties (or in some cases perfectly good residences) and converting them to apartment blocks. But we already have a huge stick of uninhabited buildings around and this spate of construction will surely increase the stock. The stock of uninhabited buildings is already unsustainable, let alone what will there be at the end of all his construction.”

“This is the real bubble that the construction sector is experiencing - not a bubble that threatens the banking system but a bubble that threatens the social fabric both of the would-be buyers and also of the would-be developers. No one seems able to stop or at least slow this Gadarene rush, but people are warned the consequences will be very painful.”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-02-17 02:16:59

‘I Was a White Guy for Rent in a Chinese Ghost City’

‘A filmmaker shares his experience in the once-lucrative business of hiring foreigners to lure homebuyers in China’s building boom’

‘Here in the U.S., this kind of false advertising can get you in trouble. How aware was Yana that she was essentially in the business of helping officials and developers trick people into buying overhyped properties?’

‘In China, there’s this kind of knowledge among everyone that they don’t know what to believe. A lot of people have given up and normalized this idea that developments and the performance of governments have an incredible amount of propaganda around them.’

Comment by 2banana
2017-02-17 06:55:29

I remember a few articles you posted about American developers hiring very attractive folks to pretend to be your soon to be neighbors…if you buy today!!!!

Comment by Blue Skye
2017-02-17 07:09:56

It’s an old game. There was an upscale development of cardboard mansions in NJ in the 60s near where I lived. They said the model house had been bought by Arnold Palmer! He never showed up though.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-02-17 07:25:17

Old game? These are entire empty cities that are still largely empty. And there are dozens of them. Fake Olympic games. Elaborate (by Chinese standards) impersonations of US officials.

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Comment by oxide
2017-02-17 11:39:16

If they want to sell the living units, why don’t they just attract a factory to set up shop nearby?

Comment by steadykat
2017-02-17 16:33:42

Skateboarding a Ghost Town in Northern China:

Comment by snake charmer
2017-02-17 08:29:46

One was in San Diego, and I remember it well. The adjacent building had been salted so that visitors to the model unit would see an attractive young woman doing aerobics and a buff shirtless man reading a book.

Comment by rms
2017-02-17 08:35:53

Did the model unit have a telescope?

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Comment by snake charmer
2017-02-17 08:40:57

Don’t remember. I wish I could find the story — it was on a blog somewhere, and the entry was a humorous first-person account of the author going to an open house in a new building. He included photos of the “neighbors.” If I recall correctly, the condo was a small studio, one of those where the bed folds up into the wall.

Comment by junior_kai
2017-02-17 12:51:09

Jim the Realtor in San Diego talks a little about that in a recent video I saw this morning about flipping - he mentions to lure buyers in the neighbors of the target property need to be at least as good looking as the buyer. Thought that was kind of wacky.


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Comment by Professor Bear
2017-02-17 07:50:41

‘A filmmaker shares his experience in the once-lucrative business of hiring foreigners to lure homebuyers in China’s building boom’


Comment by Ben Jones
2017-02-17 08:10:42

It’s interesting that foreigners were considered more credible. Says something about the insecurity of these people.

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-02-17 08:16:33

Also speaks volumes about their gullibility…

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Comment by oxide
2017-02-17 11:47:10

Isn’t this the same culture that sends their kids to American colleges to cheat on homework and exams? And launders money to Vancouver? And is famous for having a high IQ? And shamelessly copies everything Western, from stealing IP to pirating movies to counterfeiting purses to building exact replicas of Las Vegas? And *ahem* somehow manages to convince a select brainiacs that they have a 6-7% YOY GDP growth?

In other words, they cheat and they’re smart enough to know it. They can’t possibly be falling for any of this…

Comment by Carl Morris
2017-02-17 12:11:51

In other words, they cheat and they’re smart enough to know it. They can’t possibly be falling for any of this…

I think it’s the same as here. In the end they don’t care what the truth is…they just hope to make a lot of money fast. Other people did it successfully and they don’t want to get left behind. The reasons always seem to be some version of that everywhere.

Comment by junior_kai
2017-02-17 12:58:22

Han Chinese are famous for their high IQs, but what I found interesting is that they apparently perform better in testing in the US than in their homeland. Maybe its just easier to cheat here?

I do think just having a complex written language indicates that the bar for intelligence is higher.

Comment by Ethan in Northern VA
2017-02-17 13:02:38

Great artists steal. LoL

Comment by Blue Skye
2017-02-17 08:51:00

In the film trailer, the guys in the British Royal Guard getup have jacket that don’t fit at all and they’re not wearing the white belt. And sneakers? It is amazing that anyone would fall for it.

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Comment by palmetto
2017-02-17 08:54:08

“It’s interesting that foreigners were considered more credible. Says something about the insecurity of these people.”

Are we talking about China or the US?

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-02-17 09:19:54

Remember when the Canadian brokerage got caught planting fake Chinese buyers in a condo show room? As I said, there’s a lot of dishonesty in the real estate biz.

Comment by palmetto
2017-02-17 09:23:17

My question was meant to be a joke (sort of), because the US MSM seems to value foreigners more than citizens. Just sayin’.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-02-17 09:26:38

It’s the thing about each bubble has a grain of truth to it. There are Californian equity locusts, so it’s OK for me to overpay for a Phoenix shack cuz I’ll unload it on them for megabucks. Now flippers in Vancouver are calling up UHS begging for Chinese buyers.

Comment by snake charmer
2017-02-17 08:33:46

Good God:

“So you guys were sort of like a prop, then. What was one of the more outrageous roles you had to take on?”

“There was a classic menu of roles that you were asked to play, from businessman to architect. The craziest thing asked of me, not by Yana but by another agent, was to pretend that I was a consulate general from the Xi’an American embassy. They even made me a fake U.S. State Department badge, and they wanted me to say at this opening that Barack Obama was fully in support of this real estate development. Luckily that fell through. [Laughs] I’m not sure how I would have felt after going through with that, or even if I would’ve.”

Comment by snake charmer
2017-02-17 08:46:13

The video trailer for the movie is a must-see: “the things I have experienced have completely destroyed my way of seeing the world.”

Comment by absolutebeginner
2017-02-17 18:05:01

‘Pretty much.
My friend pulled a nice con in China, he dressed very eccentric and had his buddies hype him up at some art exhibit as a famous American artist (asking for autographs, taking pictures, etc) when he indeed a nobody and cleared a total of about $140k USD for his work.
I need to get in on this.’


Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-02-17 02:35:42

Astonishing: a country (not the US) where CEOs can still be sent to prison for corruption.


Comment by paul groves
2017-02-17 04:41:04

US Household Debt Rose To $12.6 Trillion In 2016: Biggest Jump In A Decade


Comment by Apartment 401
2017-02-17 06:44:16

A nation of broke @ss loosers.

Every new car I see on the streets of Denver with temp tags was paid for with a cash-out refi or HELOC or 84 month loan. Median household income here is less than $60,000.

Comment by new attitude
2017-02-17 11:34:00

Smart folks lease cars, a write-off if you own a biz, safe and reliable, fast and quiet, great mpg, and no repairs or time wasted on repairs.

Comment by In Colorado
2017-02-17 15:38:37

“no repairs or time wasted on repairs.”

Unless they’re German cars.

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Comment by Puggs
2017-02-17 15:43:55

You must have one awesome kredit skore!!

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Comment by 2banana
Comment by Professor Bear
2017-02-17 08:00:30

The timing is good, as we will need to buy a newer car in the next couple of years.

Comment by Puggs
2017-02-17 10:48:25

Same here! Patience is profit.

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Comment by new attitude
2017-02-17 14:55:51

waiting is not living. it is only $$

Comment by Puggs
2017-02-17 15:42:24

Kash is King. Debt is Dumb!

Comment by new attitude
2017-02-17 17:20:14

Leverage is king. Have confidence in yourself. >$15k for a car with 112k miles on it out of warranty is nuts.

$279 a mo, no repairs, no worries. Stay invested.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2017-02-18 10:51:09

$279 a mo, no repairs, no worries. Stay invested.

4.5yrs at that rate, and you have spent as much as the $15K car—but don’t own a car.

Comment by CHE
2017-02-17 13:43:02

Agree… holding out with my 11 year old almost 200,000 mile Acura TSX.

Sure I have to sink a few hundred bucks in to it now and then for repairs/replacement but if you take good care of it and do regular maintenance, the mechanic catches the problems before they turn in to failures.

A few hundred bucks a couple time a years vs a few hundred bucks a month… oh and less expensive liability only insurance.


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Comment by rms
2017-02-17 13:51:53

Me three… something reasonable I hope.

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Comment by azdude
2017-02-17 06:02:44

they wont let you make any money shorting the market.

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-02-17 08:01:30

At least until the next Big Short…

Comment by Apartment 401
2017-02-17 06:41:00

Only one post away from the HBB’s 10,000th post, yay!

Here Snapchat’s IPO estimated at $20 billion:


No bubble here folks. Twenty billion dollars for an app where teenz send each other disappearing nude selfies. Remember when Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace for $10 billion? LOLZ

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-02-17 06:58:31

“Snap is already demonstrating decelerating growth before they have managed to break even,” said Yann Magnan, managing director at Duff & Phelps.’

‘Snap, which is going public at a much earlier stage in its development than Twitter or Facebook, saw its loss widen to $514.64 million in 2016 from $372.89 million a year earlier. While not rare for a young company to be unprofitable, it is less common for an unprofitable company only five years old to ask for as whopping a valuation as Snap is aiming for.’

‘With Snap’s estimated valuation expected to be around 49 times revenue, and Facebook’s being 27 times, the IPO aspirations “stress how much Snap’s post-IPO growth must exceed Facebook’s to compensate for its lack of short-term profitability” said Magnan at Duff & Phelps.’

Comment by palmetto
2017-02-17 10:31:33

Heh, I forget where I read it, maybe here, maybe ZH, but some commenter made the point that IPOs are basically exit strategies for investors, VCs, etc., not to mention revenue generators for Wall Street firms such as Goldman.

IPOs are for suckers anymore.

Comment by ibbots
2017-02-17 11:06:46

Back in the late 90’s IPO = It’s Probably Overpriced.

I guess the same is true today.

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Comment by Apartment 401
2017-02-17 06:48:21

Lurkers and newbs, remember, when you need two incomes to get that mortgage to “buy” that house you can’t afford, you’re only one layoff away from foreclosure, bankruptcy, divorce, suicide ;)

Housing = your financial funeral

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-02-17 08:05:00

Housing = your financial grim reaper

Comment by Apartment 401
2017-02-17 09:54:59

Housing causes hair loss, impotence, bleeding gums, watery stools, cramps, arthritis, gout, tinnitus, uncontrolable vomiting, slurred speech, paralysis, and death.

Housing is financial Ebola.

Comment by rms
2017-02-17 13:54:31

And if she’s a hottie you know what happens next. :)

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Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-02-17 08:31:15

A wise man once said; “A mortgage is the most efficient and rapid path to personal bankruptcy and financial destruction.”

He’s right.

Comment by 2banana
2017-02-17 09:26:25

Mortgage quite literally means “death pledge”

Comment by Blue Skye
2017-02-17 09:39:11

Not surprisingly, the word “borrow” comes from the word “bury”.

Don’t bury yourself.

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Comment by 2banana
2017-02-17 06:50:02

It is amazing how most of the world, with a few notable exceptions, is in a massive housing bubble driven by central banks and cheap money.

It’s almost like it was planned.

The bursting will be epic.

AND will end in misery, bankruptcy and war.

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-02-17 08:06:21

Don’t forget to mention the blame games and bailouts…

Comment by rms
2017-02-17 08:25:49

“It’s almost like it was planned.”

In professional circles it’s called collusion.

Comment by Big Fat Ugly Bubble
2017-02-17 07:30:54

Way off-topic into music land, but I thought I’d post the link because Ben brought up Brian Eno a couple weeks ago in a political thread. Here’s another interview with him from yesterday. If you like this type of music — generative music, minimalism, etc., it’s an interesting interview. I didn’t know he released a new ambient album recently — in addition he provides the software itself to create the music, which never has an end. There are a couple of political things in the interview, but I usually don’t care too much for the political opinions of artists. Another thing I thought was interesting, he doesn’t listen very much to other people’s music, he mainly enjoys his own music. That is cool imo — an artist who doesn’t really care about other artists, he just grooves on his own creations.


Comment by Professor Bear
2017-02-17 07:42:27

“Federal Housing Administration mortgage delinquencies jumped in the fourth quarter for the first time since 2006, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.”

It’s interesting how the supposed seeds of housing recovery planted during the previous president’s administration are already turning into a bitter harvest at the onset of a new administration…a case of presidential ‘pass the trash.’ And you can be sure the Democrat politicians who planted the seeds will try to pin the blame on the Republicans currently in office.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-02-17 08:07:37

You’ll want to see the weekend topic. IMO what’s going on is beyond the back and forth of the past. The entire system is too flawed. Why in this age, with all our supposed sophistication, do we keep falling into this bubble nonsense? It’s because the overall economic system doesn’t work.

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-02-17 08:09:22

“Why in this age, with all our supposed sophistication, do we keep falling into this bubble nonsense?”

It’s a topic for anthropologists and psychologists to unravel, as economists’ ‘rational man’ explanation seems to fall short.

Comment by rms
2017-02-17 08:32:00

“You’ll want to see the weekend topic.”

Sounds perfect for thread post, p=10,000.

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-02-17 08:18:45

For now, Trump gets to bask in the afterglow of Obama’s FHA lending orgy:

Since Donald Trump became president last month, Robert Rabon says his company selling mobile homes in Conway, South Carolina, is booming — and he credits Trump. “I’ve sold 50 mobile homes since the beginning of the year because the people feel good about the country, they feel excited about it again.”

Comment by Gulf Coast Hammock
2017-02-17 08:44:28


Comment by Puggs
2017-02-17 10:47:20

Tales from the Trailer Park.

Comment by Panda Triste
2017-02-17 13:26:05

I was on a jury for a crime where most of the witnesses for the prosecution lived in a trailer park. The public defender kept referring to the “trailer park.” By the third or fourth day (this was attempted murder) one of the witnesses snapped at the defense “It’s a MOBILE HOME park!.” Everyone involved on both sides were total white trash. This was in Southern California, and in an area that really wasn’t that bad.

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Comment by Carl Morris
2017-02-17 11:46:01

“I’ve sold 50 mobile homes since the beginning of the year because the people feel good about the country, they feel excited about it again.”

Hahah…last time I bought a mobile home it was for the exact opposite reason :-). Ended up giving it to the ex but that was the perfect use for it…

Comment by whirlyite
2017-02-17 16:22:16

Reminds me of the old joke: What do a tornado and a divorce in the South have in common? Answer: Somebody’s gonna lose a trailer.

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Comment by Blue Skye
2017-02-17 08:41:08

It would seem that there is some kind of glass ceiling on the credit bubbles. A default storm gathering in autos, FHA, apartment buildings and offices, just as RW tells us that prices must rise.

What catchy name will this “crisis” get?

Comment by scdave
2017-02-17 09:45:47

What catchy name will this “crisis” get ??

Blue Skye Crashing…..

Comment by palmetto
2017-02-17 11:03:36

snipey, snipey, lil’ cuck davey.

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Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-02-17 09:53:10

“What catchy name will this “crisis” get?”


Comment by Raymond K Hessel
Comment by Professor Bear
2017-02-17 08:07:57

It’s all good, so long as the debt never has to be repaid.

Comment by rms
2017-02-17 08:33:52

I hate to think of Margot Robbie becoming a riveter.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-02-17 09:56:36

She needs to do more bubble back tutorials a la The Big Short.

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Comment by Puggs
2017-02-17 12:02:50

If people knew what if *felt* like to pay off a common mortage, most would opt for much less or save up and pay with cash.

Normalized active pain sensors would lower prices across the board because people simply would be writhing in agony at current asking prices.

Comment by steadykat
2017-02-17 17:06:05

Pay it off (common mortgage) to whom?

After making my final mortgage payment I had to demand some sort of document proving that I had, indeed, made the complete payoff. BofA stalled for weeks until I started threatening lawsuit.

There was a MERS on the document chain so any chance of getting the signed paperwork that my original loan started with was impossible. What I did finally get was a document showing the payoff date and the full amount paid signed off by an “Associate VP” from Mers and an “Associate VP” from BofA (Bancorp).

Knowing about the infamous, former McDonalds workers, strippers and drug addicted Robo-signers that MERS seem to hire I decided to check out some other documents on the internet involving Bankcorp (Maricopa County, AZ) and the two “VPs” on my document. Sure enough I could easily find at least 15 obviously different (people signing) VP signatures under the 2 same names listed on my proof of final payment doc.

Most of the signatures were wildly different and on at least two documents the VPs switched their names from Bankcorp to MERS and the other from MERS to Bankcorp.

I’ve kept all of the paperwork and proof of all monthly payments just in case. However, I told my wife not to be too surprised if someday a couple of guys from Uzbekistan show up at the front door with our original loan paperwork demanding payment.

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Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-02-17 19:24:19


Comment by tresho
2017-02-19 03:24:44

Milana Vayntrub is from Uzbekistan. Maybe she’ll show up at your door.

Comment by butters
2017-02-17 09:02:08

But..But…But the inflation is so slow.


To determine which items are driving up grocery bills the most, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed changes in the Consumer Price Index from 2006 to 2016 for over 300 goods with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These are the 20 foods driving up your grocery bill the most.

1. Tobacco and smoking products

> Price increase: 90.4%

2. Margarine

> Price increase: 63.6%

3. Uncooked ground beef

> Price increase: 46.3%

4. Shelf stable fish and seafood
> Price increase: 45.0%

5. Prescription drugs
> Price increase: 43.5%

6. Rice, pasta, cornmeal
> Price increase: 40.3%

7. Bread
> Price increase: 38.9%

8. Snacks
> Price increase: 38.4%

9. Miscellaneous poultry including turkey
> Price increase: 37.0%

10. Apples
> Price increase: 36.6%

11. Frankfurters
> Price increase: 35.8%

12. Canned vegetables
> Price increase: 35.3%

13. Salt and other seasonings and spices
> Price increase: 34.0%

14. Miscellaneous fats and oils including peanut butter
> Price increase: 34.0%

15. Miscellaneous processed fruits and vegetables including dried
> Price increase: 33.7%

16. Bacon and related products
> Price increase: 33.2%

17. Fresh whole chicken
> Price increase: 32.5%

18. Cakes, cupcakes, and cookies
> Price increase: 32.1%

19. Flour and prepared flour mixes
> Price increase: 32.1%

20. Canned fruits
> Price increase: 32.0%

Comment by 2banana
2017-02-17 09:28:34

A lot of those increases are due to government taxes and regulations

Comment by butters
2017-02-17 10:34:08

Like what?

Comment by Justme
2017-02-17 11:21:21

Come on now, just as an example, how is margarine at 63.6% affected more by government regulation and taxes than cupcakes at 32.1% ??

You are really stretching now.

Comment by 2banana
2017-02-17 14:24:45

Really - Tobacco? Prescription drug? Milk and dairy?

None of those aren’t heavily regulated and taxed by government?

You really couldn’t see that? Like it is out of left field?

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Comment by steadykat
2017-02-17 17:29:13

Would you like some cellulose (wood pulp) with that cupcake?

“According to the FDA, humans cannot digest cellulose and in some instances, where large amounts are consumed, it provides dietary bulk and can have a possible laxative effect.”


Grind up wood trees then mix various chemicals into the mix and Voila, food producers now have another way to adulterate (cheaply) food products when the customer starts to notice that he/she is paying many more dollars for much less food product. Humans are biologically unable to process wood, unlike termites so we are told that it provides fiber and it is actually good for us to eat.


The Government allows this crap to be put into almost every kind of food product that you eat. Especially baked goods and cake mixes. Just another way to cover up that dollar devaluation.

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Comment by absolutebeginner
2017-02-17 18:18:16

Howie Carr had the author on his show today:


I need to see if my library can get me a copy.

Comment by Tarara Boomdea
2017-02-18 06:57:52

They use it to keep shredded cheese separated. Never bought that again.

Comment by Blue Skye
2017-02-17 09:33:17

Food prices peaked two years ago. The Food raw commodities index peaked then as well and fell off with the price of oil, now almost where it was in 2006. Grocery prices have quite the lag on the way down.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-02-17 11:22:04

Inconceivable! The Fed and our Soviet-style CPI data say inflation is well under 2%.

Comment by new attitude
2017-02-17 11:36:11

yummmm… canned food.

Comment by Dity
2017-02-17 09:13:48

Housing market is cooling off in Orlando…

Comment by taxpayer
2017-02-17 09:35:00

I don’t get the attraction-if I’m in fl and not near the beach it scares me

Comment by aqius
2017-02-17 10:23:23

Green Flash
Fresh Seafood/Cold Beer
White Sands/Brown Tans

Comment by palmetto
2017-02-17 11:05:18

What’s “Green Flash”?

Sigh, otherwise your list reminds me of the good ole’ daze.

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Comment by ibbots
2017-02-17 11:14:12

Green flash = the last bit of sunset as it descends below the horizon.


Comment by palmetto
2017-02-17 12:37:53

Thanks, ibbots, never noticed that phenomena before, I’ll watch for it now.

Comment by snake charmer
2017-02-17 14:13:14

I have seen it, twice. Once on the beach at Captiva, once in a restaurant with a view to the west over Old Tampa Bay.

Also, aquis, thumbs up on the Hurricane and Pass-a-Grille. Somehow St. Pete Beach has resisted becoming the mega-hotel resort ville that Clearwater Beach has. It’s still a locals’ beach once the snowbirds head north.

Comment by snake charmer
2017-02-17 14:19:12

Heh. There’s “north Florida,” “central Florida,” and “south Florida,” for sure, but somebody once wrote, and I agree, that there may be as many as nine different Floridas. Other than the Orlando metropolitan area, once you get more than 20 miles inland from the peninsular coast, this is a Southern state.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-02-17 09:29:38

“Why Falling Home Prices Could Be a Good Thing”


Even the NYT is here to help prime the empty skulls of DebtDonkeys. Welcome aboard.

Comment by taxpayer
2017-02-17 09:33:34

smelly MEL WATT loans already defaulting
as a congressman he though welfare warriors should get mortgages


Comment by taxpayer
2017-02-17 09:36:26

assessments in N VA near Dc coming out at 0 change

I figure human tornado activity brings N VA down 1% and MD DC down 2%

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-02-17 09:46:04

Coral Gables, FL Housing Prices Crater 15% YoY


Comment by azdude
2017-02-17 10:02:15

is this your part time job digging this cr@p up?

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-02-17 10:16:56

Data my good friend data!

Arlington, VA Housing Prices Crater 13% YoY


Comment by Ethan in Northern VA
2017-02-17 14:36:43

He … must have automated it… he has to have…

(Not that I’m not thrilled with NoVA prices going down!)

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-02-17 14:58:47

No. It enrages you.

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Comment by redmondjp
2017-02-17 20:45:58

Stop trolling, Housing Analyst.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-02-17 20:52:07

Boots on the ground data my good friend.

Seattle, WA Housing Prices Crater 15% YoY


Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-02-17 09:59:09
Comment by Puggs
2017-02-17 10:44:08

“According to the report, Americans borrowed the most money since the recession to pay for new houses or to refinance their mortgages.”

Oops, you overpaid!

Comment by junior_kai
2017-02-17 13:40:08

Richter has more doom porn, this time on retail sales:

There are two components of “retail and food services sales” that have been booming over the past few years through the fourth quarter 2016. And then there’s all the rest combined – 71% of total retail sales – that has been in decline since the third quarter of 2008. That’s the tough reality of retail sales in the US.

Since 2008? WTF?!? I thought Ozero told us we were living in the “its all good” eCONomy?


Comment by Puggs
2017-02-17 10:26:24

Ouch. Fund loses $600 million betting against Trump rally.


Slow and steady friends, slow ‘N steady.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-02-17 11:03:17

Remember, the second mouse gets the cheese.

Comment by Puggs
2017-02-17 11:54:44

Si, me rather learn from others mistakes.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-02-17 11:12:34

Automakers have been able to boost their “shareholder value” by booking robust “sales” to how-much-a-month-Harrys taking advantage of ultra-easy lending standards. Now the hammer is about to fall as the numbers of non-performing loans are starting to surge.


Comment by azdude
2017-02-17 12:47:00

buy a chevy with no money down and take 72 months to pay it off!

Comment by palmetto
2017-02-17 11:13:52

Just curious, Ben, if you’d be willing to say, how much deleting of OT political posts you’re having to do daily, if the count is going up or down, etc. Just wanted to get an idea of what the Rage-O-Meter is doing.

Comment by Ol'Bubba
2017-02-17 13:02:54

I got your Rage-o-meter right here, pal!

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-02-17 13:17:22

I’m guessing the HBB regulars are doing a decent job of policing their own posts.

Comment by Apartment 401
2017-02-17 15:39:21

Specific to housing, most SJW’s choose college majors that result in them still living with their parents or with roommates past age 30.

Comment by Carl Morris
2017-02-17 15:53:12

Pretty sure I’ve seen some SJW women intentionally choose geeks to pay the bills, and then try to convert them to the SJW way later.

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Comment by redmondjp
2017-02-17 20:49:13

Well, except for Housing Analyst AKA Senior Housing Analyst AKA Mafia Blocks AKA about a dozen other names . . .

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-02-17 20:56:26

Stick to housing my good friend. Stick to housing.

Issaquah, WA Housing Prices Crater 19% YoY


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Comment by Panda Triste
2017-02-17 13:29:17

I have to say I may be eating a lot of crow for statements I’ve made. I’m pleasantly surprised - on that one issue.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-02-17 11:40:54

Los Angeles slouches deeper into dystopia as mayor pretends crime isn’t rising.


Comment by whirlyite
2017-02-17 16:37:24

Wasn’t The Running Man set in 2017?

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2017-02-17 12:07:35

Since WSJ demands pay for play, same story from another site:

“Baby-boomers face forced lifestyle changes with big debts”

Cliffs Notes version:
-Bankrupt California boomer moves to Oil City (Iowa) to afford life.
-”Ms Wolf was a millionaire whose fortune, built on buying and selling homes, collapsed in the financial crisis.”
-”People in the US aged 65 to 74 hold more than five times the borrowing obligations Americans their age held two decades ago…”
-”Median savings for US households nearest retirement age has dropped 32 per cent in the past decade to $US14,500…”
-”Ms Wolf turned from shopping at Whole Foods to Costco to discount-food markets. As her savings and income dwindled, she turned to the Salvation Army for dried and canned foods. Instead of making money flipping houses, she cleaned them.”

Got Alpo?

Comment by Apartment 401
2017-02-17 12:36:20

I love love love articles like this :)

Comment by rms
2017-02-17 13:59:39

We really need a rap piece pimping jingle-mail.

Comment by oxide
2017-02-17 14:36:18

People in the US aged 65 to 74 hold more than five times the borrowing obligations Americans their age held two decades ago

Which is why they aren’t retiring. And all it takes to wipe them out is one precious angel who wants to go to a private school.

Comment by Puggs
2017-02-17 15:41:03

If yer still paying off debt into retirement. You did not plan well.

Your broker made you broker.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-02-17 12:17:29

NAFTA didn’t just screw over the American working class. It screwed over poor Mexican farmers, too.


Comment by Avg Joe
2017-02-17 13:02:08

That site also has a paywall.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2017-02-17 15:01:43

Try a search on this:

“With $15 Left in the Bank, a Baby Boomer Makes Peace With Less”

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-02-17 13:03:24

Meanwhile, a stealth bank run is underway in Greece as depositors yank their money before they are subjected to a Cyprus-style “bail-in.”


Comment by new attitude
2017-02-17 15:27:09

One hell of a storm today, mudslides, high winds, power outage, flooding….

Comment by Carl Morris
2017-02-17 15:54:25

There has been some rain and some wind in San Jose but pretty mild so far.

Comment by new attitude
2017-02-17 17:34:20

SB has had 4.59″ today! 101 is closed at La Conchita.

Comment by azdude
2017-02-17 18:18:55

I thought u lived in flyover country?

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Comment by rms
2017-02-17 20:00:41

He’s in the Central Coast area aka Heaven on Earth.

Comment by azdude
2017-02-17 18:12:06

why do some people consistently dig for bad news?

Comment by Apartment 401
2017-02-17 18:53:42

Off-topic for post #9999:

The Grateful Dead — Help On The Way / Slipknot / Franklin’s Tower / The Music Never Stopped:


Comment by Apartment 401
2017-02-17 19:01:00

I’m watching/listening to this right now and thinking about the several times I shared a room (or stadium) with Jerry Garcia and saw him play live…

It was pretty magical

And P.S. F*ck Phish

Comment by aNYCdj
2017-02-17 18:59:43


Goldman expects U.S. mortgage rates to jump 150 bps by 2019


Kraft Heinz bids $143 billion for Unilever in global brand grab


Comment by Apartment 401
2017-02-17 19:22:38

#MOAR off-topic for post #9999

Ice T — Mic Contract:


Comment by phony scandals
2017-02-18 10:03:22

Ice-T is an angry Elf

Comment by Big Fat Ugly Bubble
2017-02-17 19:22:51

In Seattle, dying is a violation of your rental contract. Hehe.


Comment by rms
2017-02-17 20:09:40

“He had been homeless and living on the streets when the family learned of a room for rent in a five-room house in White Center. At $700 a month, Tolbert said, it was manageable.”

Haha… a room in a ghetto house for $700/month?

Comment by phony scandals
2017-02-17 21:30:14

Sad deal all the way around.

Comment by Big Fat Ugly Bubble
2017-02-18 08:51:02

It is a sad story, indeed. I didn’t mean to chuckle at the person in the article, just the headline. To be a little bit stereotypical, the guy in the article kinda looks like a biker kind of guy. If I had to guess, he probably wore a Trump hat one day and his leftist landlord saw it, and that’s why they won’t release his deposit to his family.

Comment by Big Fat Ugly Bubble
2017-02-17 19:38:07

The plan for Canada to continue their housing bubbles is to sell them to the 300,000 immigrants each year. Oh, yeah, and they have a shortage of houses too. Heh.


“Even though worries about so-called foreign buyers inflating prices dominate some discussions about runaway housing prices, the housing boom is more likely being driven by new immigrants looking to get a piece of that Canadian dream. It’s a mentality that says home ownership is a sign you have made it.”

Comment by phony scandals
2017-02-17 22:14:01

Upside down Loan owner song


Comment by phony scandals
2017-02-17 22:59:50

This song was nothing without the Pips “I know you will” to Gladys Knight’s “I’ve got to be with him” and their perfectly harmonized Whoo - whoo train whistle.

Midnight Train to Georgia

This was written and originally recorded by Jim Weatherly, who had a solo hit in 1974 with “The Need To Be.” Weatherly explained the origin of this song in an interview with Gary James: “The song actually came about after a phone call I had with Farrah Fawcett. Lee Majors was a friend of mine. We’d played in the Flag Football League together in L.A. He had just started dating Farrah. One day I called Lee and Farrah answered the phone. We were just talking and she said she was packing. She was gonna take the midnight plane to Houston to visit her folks. So, it just stayed with me. After I got off the phone, I sat down and wrote the song probably in about 30 to 45 minutes.

And then later on, maybe a year or six months later, a guy in Atlanta wanted to cut the song on Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother. They called and said they would like a more R&B sounding title and asked if we would mind if they changed the title to ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ [so that "Houston" wouldn't appear in both the title and artist name]. We said ‘change anything but the writer and publisher.’ So, he cut the song on Cissy Houston and it was a nice little cross between an R&B and country record. It got on the R&B charts. That’s the version that Gladys heard. Some of the background vocals you hear on Glady’s records were first on Cissy Houston’s record. It wasn’t as much, but just some of the feel of the background vocals. And of course Gladys’ record was more of a groove-oriented thing. It wasn’t as slow. It just became a monster record.”


Midnight Plane To Houston Jim Weatherly

midnite train to geogia cissy houston

Gladys Knight & The Pips - Midnight Train to Georgia

Comment by rms
2017-02-18 05:12:45

“One day I called Lee and Farrah answered the phone. We were just talking and she said she was packing. She was gonna take the midnight plane to Houston to visit her folks. So, it just stayed with me. After I got off the phone, I sat down and wrote the song probably in about 30 to 45 minutes.”

Farrah was an inspiring woman. I honestly felt sorry for her as she was fighting for her life and her dysfunctional children couldn’t let-up, wouldn’t cut her some slack. Ryan hasn’t done well either; the life struggle of an hourly man would have served him better.

Comment by @AltFacts
2017-02-18 03:57:45

Does your mental state somewhat resemble a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued?

Comment by Amy
2017-02-18 06:06:42

I’m so glad I found this blog. I’m looking for a house in the St. Petersburg, FL area, where asking prices for houses under $200K are literally up 25% over a year ago - and these are not houses in great condition. Everyone’s saying how wonderful it is that housing prices are up and houses are selling again, and as a cash buyer on a fixed income, I’m not feeling the joy. Home prices are still relatively low - and even professional wages are relatively low too - and still, I’m getting constantly outbid by buyers with FHA loans on houses that need $10K-25K worth of work in the next couple of years to stay insurable. Now, how’s a person - or a couple - who can’t put down more than 3% (or less, because there are down payment assistance programs around for low income buyers) and who’s going to be building minuscule amounts of equity for many many years - going to pay for those repairs? Credit cards? And what happens in a couple of years when they lose their insurance? The loan holder slaps on a compulsory policy; monthly payment increases substantially; home condition deteriorates more because this was a home the buyer couldn’t afford to maintain in the first place . . . It’s deja vu all over again.

Comment by aNYCdj
2017-02-18 10:55:34

Maybe you should ask do you really want a house? how can you downsize your life to live in 1 or 2 bedrooms less, id rather have a smaller apartment or house and a bigger yard or porch everything today is digital, so people should not have large multiple bookcases of tapes cds vhs books magazine, huge 200lb big screen projection tvs they give those away for free in nyc. …..again less space needed to live in.

i realized here the only reason to ever overpay for a home is….its your “ToeTag” home the last one you will buy and die in….so might as well get exactly what you want.

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-02-21 13:50:13

San Francisco County, CA Rental Rates Plummet 7% YoY


Comment by Jay
2017-02-28 17:16:15

This question is for everyone:

Do you think rent/home prices will reach 2010/2011 bottom levels again?
If so, when?


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