The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is reportedly slashing pay and laying off employees due to dwindling revenue from membership dues, according to The Real Deal.
Citing a memo sent to REBNY’s board of governors, the report says the New York City-based real estate trade association would be cutting expenses by 15 percent, which includes laying off 10 percent of staff and cutting senior staffers’ pay by 10 percent. REBNY President James Whelan will see his pay cut by one-third.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted profound damage on New York City, its people and its economy,” a spokesperson for REBNY told Inman, in a statement.
“REBNY is not immune to or insulated from that impact,” the spokesperson added. “To manage our budget issues, we have focused on decreasing expenses including salary cuts, staff reductions and other measures.”
REBNY’s 2018 total dues collected was roughly $9.7 million, according to public tax filings. More recent figures, including Whelan’s salary were not immediately available.
The dearth of membership dues is likely a direct result of the COVID-19-fueled slowdown in New York City, the metro area hit the hardest by the pandemic, where transactions nearly slowed to a stop in March and April.
While the market has slowly come back online, there are still restrictions in place in the city to limit in-person contact, which has, in turn, continued to hold the market back. Even as the market has seen new listings increase week-over-week for six straight weeks, the levels of activity are still far below 2019.
The most recent report from UrbanDigs found that new listings were still down 43 percent year-over-year and contracts signed were down 78 percent year-over-year for the week ending on June 7.
REBNY isn’t the only one to feel the pain of the slowdown. Both Compass and Douglas Elliman, two New York City-based brokerages, announced layoffs and salary cuts.