Accepting the New Old Normal as Normal

Surprise StadiumI found myself banging my head against the steering wheel the other day while listening to ESPN Radio. There’s always the internal debate of whether the sports talk radio hosts really believe what they’re saying or are just trying to fill air time – I often hope for the latter – but the sheer stupidity of the statements overrode that thought process.

In talking about baseball, one host suggested the powers that be lower the mound in an effort to increase scoring because “young kids” who grew up watching “video game scoring” through the steroids era are going to grow bored with the game as it sits now.

Which, of course, is moronic. Rather than accept the double-digit scoring of the late 1990s and early 2000s as the aberration that it was, he suggested we work to get back to the point.

Now, I’m not going to go all baseball purist on you but I’ll happily take a two and a half hour 3-2 game over a three-plus hour 11-10 slugfest. Maybe it’s because I grew up with the lower scores; maybe it’s because I realize the lower scores were the norm for most of the game’s existence. Maybe I think it’s idiotic to suggest lowering the mound, which last was done in 1968 when a pitcher posted a 1.12 ERA and league batting averages were in the .230s.

What we’re seeing is a return to normal. Stop trying to fix it. Just come to accept it.

(By the way … don’t get me started on college football, which really does resemble a video game on the easiest level possible.)

This same concept applies to real estate.

There still are some who consider the hyper-appreciation of 2005 to be the norm. Double-digit increases here in Phoenix this past year, fueled by a dearth of inventory, have sellers starting to pull back to wait for more gains when they really ought to be taking advantage of conditions to get out.

Wish as much as you want for those halcyon days of the real estate bubble, but those days are gone. What we’re seeing now, if anything, is the correction of the overcorrection, the so-called reversion to the mean (which, oddly, only is discussed by big thinking types when it helps explain why prices will fall, as if water can’t find its own level both up and down.)

There’s no need to return to the insanity of the mid-2000s in the real estate market. With a little more inventory … okay, about 50 percent more inventory … we’d be looking at a balanced market again.

Oh, and by the way … these interest rates we’ve seen for years? They’re abnormal, too.

I can guarantee that when the 30-year goes back to five percent, there will be wailing from the masses about the high cost of a mortgage. At which point those of us who once were happy to get a single-digit rate versus 10 or higher (way back 14 years ago) will be shaking our heads in wonder.

What is, is. What will be, will be. Adjust for where things are, stop looking back to try and find the norm, and life at home and in the ballpark will be much easier.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at