Thanks to the weak dollar, the United States has been ranked the most stable and secure country for real estate investments (56%) and the country offering the best opportunity for capital appreciation (26.2%, up from 23% in 2006), according to the 16th annual survey of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate, released Jan. 28. For that story from BusinessWeek and more, check out Big Builder's bi-weekly blog roundup.

The increasing number of foreclosures and abandoned properties may correlate to fears of higher crime and property tax rates, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Housing Bubble likens the current situation to the crashing mortgage market in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In light of the latest numbers from NAR, Seeking Alpha cautions that although stablizing home sales volume and inventory may seem to point to a bottom, the far more important variable of home prices has yet to come close to finding its own bottom.

John Lansner points out that although home sales in Orange County, Calif., are up 18% for the most recent four-week peroid, they are still 37% below the level seen a year ago.

In addition to risks of consumer-side inflation, Dr. Housing Bubble turns its attention to a home in Anaheim, Calif., which has experienced a 40% decline in sales price in the past 1 year and 4 months. Currently on the market for $399,900, this house sold for $586,046 on Nov. 8, 2007--and for $665,600 on Sept. 21, 2006.

The Inman News blog questions whether the Fed's recent emergency rate cut was inadvertently influenced by the actions of a now-fugitive 31-year-old futures trader.

Reggie Middleton's Boom Bust blog posits that Bear Stearns may soon find itself in a fight for its life (if it hasn't already), as it faces the possibility of civil litigation, client defection, and a criminal indictment--adding that no Wall Street firm has survived such an indictment to date.