50-year Arizona real estate veteran sees blue skies ahead
Brokerage leader Bill Ryan, whose firm recently joined KW, has seen tremendous growth — and a few booms and busts — over his five decades in the industry.
- Veteran agent Bill Ryan announced this week that his Infinity & Associates independent brokerage has moved over to Keller Williams.
- He’s handed the reins over to his children, who he says have ambitions to grow the team from 2022’s $250 million sales volume.
- The Phoenix-area price correction may already be over, he says, as demand picks back up and supply remains low.
Real estate veteran Bill Ryan has spent his entire 50-year career working in and around Chandler, Arizona, a southeast suburb of Phoenix. And he's seen a lot of change and growth in the region during that time.
"When I got into the real estate business in 1974, Chandler was about 20,000 to 25,000 people," he told Real Estate News. "Today it's 300,000 people, and 20 communities, all of which are in the same growth boat."
He highlights how the region has grown into one big interconnected market where you may be driving through Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa or Tempe, and may not even realize that you've exited one city and entered the other. It's a unique characteristic of the Phoenix Valley, where even the suburbs have populations similar to midsize cities elsewhere in the U.S.
Ryan announced this week that he and members of his independent brokerage, Infinity & Associates Real Estate, are moving over to Keller Williams. According to KW, Ryan's team, which is composed of roughly 50 agents and a couple of full-time administrative staff, did $250 million in deals on 426 units last year. In 2021, the team sold 521 units, equaling a sales volume of $263 million.
Still plenty of room to grow
Despite the tremendous growth in the Phoenix Valley over the last few decades, there's still plenty more to come, Ryan said.
"The metro Phoenix area has been absolutely an aggressively steady growth region of the country," he explained. "And then within the Phoenix area, the East Valley — mostly Mesa, Tempe, Chandler and Gilbert — is one of the fastest-growing areas and one of the most economically stable areas of metro Phoenix."
Ryan said his real estate business is not only a team effort, but a family one. While he's still involved in sales and business development, he's largely handed the reins over to his son, daughter, and son-in-law, and he looks forward to seeing them grow the team and business in the coming years.
"At the top of my game, I had about 10 to 12 people working for me back in the early 2000s, but then transitioned that down over the years into something that's more family-oriented," he said. "They want to take what I've developed over the years — the database, the clientele and the great reputation — and grow that significantly."
He also notes that they have a major advantage he didn't have 25 years ago: technology. It's one of the reasons why Ryan said they decided to align with Keller Williams — the advanced tech used in today's real estate world is vital to growth and sustainability, he said.
Is Phoenix in a housing bubble?
While Ryan has witnessed a lot of change and growth in the Phoenix Valley over the last 50 years, he has also been around during the region's toughest economic times. The desert metropolis was hit particularly hard during the Great Recession after the 2008 housing crisis.
There has been much speculation and discussion about whether the current housing boom is another bubble. While there has been high demand for housing and runaway price growth in the Phoenix area, don't expect a speculator bust, Ryan told Real Estate News. However, we may already be witnessing a correction in prices in the area.
"In the previous eight or nine months, we saw prices adjusting to the economy, which is not unusual," he said. "When you have 30% appreciation year-over-year, you're gonna see something break, you're gonna see something that has to adjust to keep the affordability in check. And so we did have about a 15% decline or an adjustment in values."
But prices may have already hit their bottom, Ryan suggested, as the market heats back up and buyers find themselves in bidding wars yet again as supply remains low. And another big difference between 2008 and now? The Phoenix Valley's economy is much more resilient.
"I'm an eternal optimist, but I'm also a realist in the sense that, hey, we're still going to go through some economic ups and downs. It's just going to happen," he said. "But we have a different circumstance here because of our growth, because of our economy, because of our employment base, and because of the diversity of that employment base."