Here are this week's Worthy Nods from the news and from around the blogs:
Wall Street Journal: Home Prices Nearing Bottom? Well, That Depends - An interesting article on the effect of distressed sales on overall market values. Does the fact that distressed sales are driving the market in places like California really signal a bottom? Well, that depends ...
The Economist: A Dizzy Descent - Global Housing Market Goes From Bad to Worse - "When we last looked at global house prices, only six of the countries we surveyed had recorded year-on-year declines. Three months later that figure has risen to 16." See the chart with home price indicators for countries around the globe.
North County Times: Housing: Banks Selling Properties In Bulk For Cheap - Controversy is growing around banks who are selling foreclosed properties for far below real value. The effect is a terrible blow to property values for the rest of the market.
Reuters: Washington Mutual sues FDIC For Over $13 Billion -Washington Mutual’s holding company is suing the FDIC for billions of dollars, saying the firesale of the bank’s assets to JP Morgan Chase violated its rights. Lawyers for the holding company argue that the bank was worth more than the $1.9 billion JP Morgan paid for it in a deal arranged by the FDIC. The lawsuit argues that if WaMu’s assets had been liquidated prudently, they would have been worth more than that.The FDIC seized the Seattle-based savings and loan in September. It was the largest bank failure in U.S. history. And the beat goes on.
New York Times: Mortgages - Appraising the Appraiser - With falling home prices, appraisals are often the deciding factor on a borrower's ability to obtain a loan. New processes center on a controversy of compensation issues and correlated quality. See what the fuss is all about. Does the cost of an appraisal speak to its quality?
The Big Picture: Rent Bits - Pretty cool: Find rental statistics and trends for houses, apartments, and other types on many U.S. cities listed.
New York Times: Greenbrier Resort Files for Bankruptcy - It took a 21st-century recession to do what the Great Depression and the cold war could not: drive the historic, 231-year-old Greenbrier resort, the West Virginia playground of presidents and royalty, into bankruptcy.
And finally ... on AIG ...
The Rolling Stone: The Big Takeover - "It''s over — we're officially, royally f****d. No empire can survive being rendered a permanent laughingstock, which is what happened as of a few weeks ago, when the buffoons who have been running things in this country finally went one step too far ..."
The Daily Beast: Wall Street Mob - AIG: America's New Punching Bag - "How did AIG become the symbol for all that's wrong in the world? With death threats on its employees and AG’s on the hunt, The Daily Beast takes a look at how the bonus debacle spun out of control." Check out this interesting interactive compilation of headlines from the most prominent news sources.
The Big Picture: A Lynch Mob! -Let's go hang'em! "Members of the US House of Representatives who voted for this bill said they were reacting to the anger of their constituents. In failing to show leadership they have just undermined the entire structure designed to repair the financial system."
New York Times: The Problem With Flogging AIG - Can we all just calm down a little? And Drive-By On the Elite Streets of Fairfield - "The bus pulled to a stop ... " A bus tour of protesters?
Fortune: AIG's Rescue Has a Long Way To Go - "Within insurance giant American International Group, but known to only a few people, is something irreverently called the 'kill list.' " The rest of the story... when AIG's Controller, Herzog, flung his e-mail grenade ...
Financial Times: Banker Fury Over Tax "Witch-Hunt" - Unintended Consequences: "Senior executives on both sides of the Atlantic on Friday warned of an exodus of talent from some of the biggest names in US finance, saying the 'anti-American' measures smacked of 'a McCarthy witch-hunt' that would send the country 'back to the stone age'."
I hope that we can move beyond AIG retention bonuses next week. Bigger fish to fry, etc.