By James Kleimann | HousingWire
On Tuesday, the other shoe dropped. With mortgage rates now north of 6% and the stock market officially in bear territory, two of America’s most prominent real estate brokerages instituted large-scale layoffs and halted expansion efforts.
Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said the brokerage/listings platform made the tough decision to lay off 470 workers across several divisions, including its engineering department.
“We raised hundreds of millions of dollars so we wouldn’t have to shed people after just a few months of uncertainty,” he wrote in a filing to the Securities and Exchanges Commission. “But mortgage rates increased faster than at any point in history. We could be facing years, not months, of fewer home sales, and Redfin still plans to thrive. If falling from $97 per share to $8 doesn’t put a company through heck, I don’t know what does.”
Meanwhile, venture-backed Compass laid off 450 workers, halted expansion plans and even briefly paused trading of its stock, which had fallen from a debut price of $20.15 in April 2021, to $4.51 a share. Compass on Tuesday said that it has shut down Modus Technologies, a Seattle-based company that Compass bought in October 2020, heralding its entry point into the title and escrow space. It also plans to reduce costs by not backfilling roles and by getting out of real estate office leases.