Real estate brokerage Compass Inc. reached its goal to generate positive free cash flow, as the firm’s move to cut costs helped it weather a slowing housing market.
(Bloomberg) — Real estate brokerage Compass Inc. reached its goal to generate positive free cash flow, as the firm’s move to cut costs helped it weather a slowing housing market.
Compass posted free cash flow of $51 million in the second quarter even as revenue fell 26% from a year earlier, according to a statement Monday. Its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $30 million met the low end of its guidance.
“We believe we are in position to achieve our goal of being free cash flow positive for 2023,” Chief Financial Officer Kalani Reelitz said in the statement.
Revenue, which totaled $1.5 billion, were hit by a decline in transactions due to macroeconomic factors. The average price of Compass’s transactions fell in part because there were fewer sales in high-end markets such as California, the company said.
Compass, which spent nearly $1 billion over a decade building a technology platform for real estate agents, began making dramatic spending cuts in 2022. The company has cut jobs and committed to paring back expenses, measures that in the last four quarters reduced its annualized run-rate operating expenses by more than $500 million.
“Our financial results demonstrate that our aggressive stance in cost discipline and our reset of operating expense levels throughout 2022 and continuing into 2023 is working,” Chief Executive Officer Robert Reffkin said on an earnings call Monday.
It’s a reversal of fortune for a company that drew skeptics questioning how it could become profitable given its string of losses in a hot housing market during the pandemic. Fueled by capital from SoftBank Group Corp. and other investors, Compass pushed for growth and spent money to recruit agents, becoming a major player in New York real estate and expanding to other US markets.
Reffkin, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker, has pushed for the firm to gain market share and find a way to manage costs. The housing market has dramatically slowed from its pandemic boom days, as higher borrowing costs sideline buyers and keep many owners from listing properties.
Compass shares have slid almost 78% since its initial public offering in early 2021.
(Updates with CEO comment in sixth paragraph.)
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