Avison Young is joining a growing list of international commercial brokerages slashing its budget and laying off employees amid worsening economic conditions. The Toronto-based firm is planning C$25 million ($18.5 million) in budget cuts to its global business, including staff downsizing. The privately-owned brokerage employs about 5,000 people worldwide.
Avison Young added 235 employees in August after acquiring Madison Marquette’s office and industrial property management, and a few other divisions. But the economic climate has worsened since then, and that period over the summer appears to be the end of consolidation in the brokerage industry for now. The Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes have hit property markets hard, as property values have dropped and new debt is more expensive.
CBRE and JLL are two other large international brokerages that have gone through layoffs recently. Cushman & Wakefield, Colliers, Newmark, and Marcus & Millichap haven’t announced staff cuts yet, but they’ve all indicated they’re cutting costs. Avison Young grew dramatically in 2019 in the U.K. after acquiring the U.K. practice group GVA, and the firm operates in 16 countries out of more than 100 offices.
Many brokerages like Avison Young will continue to make tough decisions about costs and staffing as we get closer to year-end. Brokers and other real estate professionals should be ready to shift roles in the industry for the short term as the economic malaise continues.