Intelligent Actual Property cuts workers

A St. Louis-based startup connecting homebuyers and sellers to real estate agents is the latest housing market player to make cuts in response to economic uncertainty. 

Clever Real Estate laid off an undisclosed number of employees in its customer service and editorial teams, a spokesperson confirmed Friday. The company touts 1% listing fees for sellers and up to 0.5% cash back for buyers, and said recently it was on track to sell $4 billion in real estate in 2022.

The layoffs were made as Clever positions itself for growth in the slowing housing market, co-founder and CEO Luke Babich told business journal St. Louis Inno this week. Mortgage activity last week hit a low not seen since 1997 with rates on the cusp of 7%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. 

In August, the business announced three executive hires and promoted its growth despite market challenges that have forced dozens of other businesses to issue several rounds of lay offs. 

“The company continues to see 10-20% month-over-month growth, defying headwinds in the real estate industry that have led to layoffs at many other companies,” an August press release from the company states.

Clever was founded in 2017 and claims a network of 12,000 agents across the country. It has 122 employees, according to LinkedIn, a count that includes part-time roles. The firm reported an $8 million Series B funding round in December, and total funding of $13.5 million. 

Other major layoffs are also pending at Finance of America, which declared that it is discontinuing its forward mortgage business, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure filed Friday afternoon.

Those cuts follow an already tumultuous year for the large lender, which announced earlier this month it would wind down its wholesale operations by Dec. 16. Finance of America already said it would exit its consumer-direct channel, and allegedly tried to sell its retail operations to Guaranteed Rate in a deal that fell apart earlier this month. 

The company, following its $168 million net loss in the second quarter, said it would undertake layoffs and other cost-cutting measures to save over $100 million this year. It has yet to announce when it will disclose its third quarter earnings.

Other real estate competitors trimming payroll this month include real estate valuations and platform technology provider Clear Capital, which let go 27% of its workforce, and Ohio-based fintech lender Lower, which cut an undisclosed number of employees. Servicer Roundpoint, which was purchased by Matrix Financial Services in August from Freedom Mortgage, will also lay off 74 employees next week.

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