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To Grandmother's House We Go

Posted by: Peter Coy on November 21, 2005

We all know the Thanksgiving song about going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house. But how realistic is the song from the point of view of the housing market? Aren’t we really talking about a small minority of Americans?

As mavens in both Thanksgiving and housing, we at Hot Property conducted a close textual analysis of the song and reached the following scientific (ahem) conclusions:

*Only 47.3% of Americans are going to Grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving this year. Of these, approximately 33.9% are going to the same grandmothers, so we have a double-counting problem.

*About 4.9% of the houses do not technically belong to Grandma because of various liens and title disputes.

*Of those going to Grandmother’s house, 12.9% live on the same side of the river as Grandma, so the song clearly doesn’t apply to them.

*Of those who are crossing a river, 51% will not subsequently go through the woods, so the song doesn’t apply to them either.

*Of those who are indeed going over the river and through the woods, approximately 29% live in states, such as Mississippi and Alabama, where it is highly unlikely that they will encounter white and drifting snow.

*To make a long story short, it appears that there are only 18 families in America who on Thanksgiving Day will be going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house, will be going through white and drifting snow, and will be—this is crucial—traveling by sleigh.

*Of those 18 families, 17 have horses that do not, in fact, know the way.

So, to the one family in America that will be celebrating a traditional Thanksgiving this Thursday … enjoy! (And don’t speak a word about housing all day long.)



BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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