Desjardins Group has called it quits on its real estate brokerage FairSquare Group Realty less than three years after acquiring the company.
"Please be advised that FairSquare Group Realty is no longer accepting new business," the brokerage's social media pages and website read, as of Thursday.
The decision came about as a result of the slowing housing market, with Desjardins spokesperson Chantal Corbeil telling The Globe and Mail "the rapid deterioration of the housing market and its business model do not allow us to continue operations."
Desjardins did not respond to request for comment by the time of publication.
UK-based Purplebricks sold its Canadian subsidiary to Desjardins in July 2020 for just over $60M, with Desjardins later rebranding the online brokerage to FairSquare in January of last year. The 2020 sale also included Quebec-based Duproprio, which Purplebricks had acquired in 2018. Despite the FairSquare shutdown, Desjardins will continue Duproprio's operations.
FairSquare is far from the first digital-focused brokerage to struggle in the current real estate market as home sales continue to plunge, hitting a 14-year low in January, according to the latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Just last month, tech-powered real estate brokerage Properly announced an indefinite pause on all new Sale Assurance offers, under which the brokerage purchased clients’ homes that sat on the market for more than 90 days for a pre-agreed-upon price. According to an update posted to Properly's website, the pause is a consequence of the “unprecedented volatility in the Canadian housing market.”
The Sales Assurance pause also came just two months after Properly laid off 71 employees, with CEO Anshul Ruparell citing both the changing real estate market and having grown the company too quickly as driving forces behind the layoffs.