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Anywhere, the massive parent company of brands including Coldwell Banker and Century 21, revealed this week that it carried out a new round of layoffs Monday and that it was ending its iBuying efforts.
The company revealed the moves in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The filing described a “meaningful” reduction in Anywhere’s workforce, though it did not specifically say how many positions the company cut. In total since June, Anywhere has reduced its workforce by 11 percent, according to the filing.
The filing states that the job cuts were “driven by worsening trends in the housing market.” It adds that the layoffs also build on “multiple other cost reduction and spending reprioritization initiatives.”
In an email to Anywhere employees — which was provided to Inman — CEO Ryan Schneider described the layoffs as “an incredibly difficult but critical step in our path forward.” He also said the company will provide “transition benefits, including severance packages and outplacement career services.”
“I realize the difficulty these actions have on the affected individuals, and I do not take any decisions involving our people lightly,” Schneider continued in the email.
In addition to cutting its workforce, Anywhere is also shuttering its iBuyer, RealSure. The move follows those of Zillow and Redfin, which ended their own iBuying programs in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
In his email Schneider said that while he had been excited about RealSure’s potential, “given the changing market, these products are not delivering the same value to consumers.”
News of the layoffs and iBuying exit was first reported by Market Watch.
RealSure first launched in 2019. Like other iBuyers, the program provided homeowners with a cash offer that let them avoid the hassle of listing on the open market. The company gradually rolled the program out across the country and by late 2021 it was available in 11 states.
As of Tuesday, RealSure’s website showed that it had most recently been operating in 26 cities spread across 13 states.
It was not immediately clear how many deals RealSure closed during its lifetime, nor has Anywhere said how many homes it still has in inventory. However, the largest iBuyers historically were Opendoor, Zillow, Redfin and Offerpad. After Zillow and Redfin exited the sector, Opendoor and Offerpad were left as the only remaining major iBuyers.
Programs such as RealSure have generally been regarded as smaller players in the iBuying space.
Both Opendoor and Offerpad have faced serious struggles in recent months as they’ve laid off workers and watched their share prices plummet to all-time lows. Opendoor reported a loss of nearly $1 billion in the third quarter of 2022, prompting some observers to suggest the iBuying concept is facing an existential moment.
In Offerpad’s case, the company has been warned that if it doesn’t improve its share price, it will be kicked out of the New York Stock Exchange.
The debate over iBuying has only intensified lately, with some in the housing industry wondering how the concept can survive in a period of flat or negative home price growth.
Tuesday’s news about Anywhere’s cuts come just days after rival brokerage Compass also announced a new round of layoffs. Those cuts were the company’s third round since the market began tanking last year, and represented the first major real estate layoff of 2023.
In total, at least 18,000 real estate workers lost their jobs in 2022 as mortgage rates shot up and sapped demand for new loans. Most observers and industry leaders expect 2023 to be a similarly tough year, and on Monday eXp Realty CEO Glenn Sanford forecast a “a 25 percent to 30 percent overall sales volume reduction” this year.
Anywhere’s SEC filing this week further stated that “declines in existing home sales will be most significant in the first half of 2023 and may gradually moderate throughout the year.”
In his email, Schneider described “a more difficult current and upcoming housing environment,” and outlined a plan to cut costs and ensure spending has a return on investment. Among other things, that will include “identifying software synergies” and “reimagining our real estate brokerage offices to be more efficient, accessible, and integrated with transaction services, like title and mortgage.”
Schneider also said Anywhere’s priorities now include growing “our high-octane franchise business and our luxury leadership position,” and digitizing the company. He also argued that “there will be opportunities to take share from the competition.”
“I remain committed,” he concluded, “to doing everything to support our agent and franchisee partners, consumers, and most importantly, you.”
Update: This post was updated after publication with information from Anywhere and with background on the company and market conditions.