Housing market takes toll on NJ real estate agency

The slumping housing market has taken its toll on a West Long Branch-based real estate company.

Foxtons North America, with just one location in West Long Branch, is laying off most of its 380 employees. The company came into the real estate scene nearly 10 years ago and bet that by cutting commissions and putting its sales force on salary, it could pass the savings onto home sellers.

Some competing real estate brokers believe Foxtons' strategy was doomed from the start.

?This is a service business and they weren?t giving the service,? Broker Pat Kelly says. ?A lot of it was surface advertising and that was it. Behind that advertising I really didn?t see an organization.?

Foxtons says it will retain the thousands of homes listed on its Web site. However, other realtors say the company just lists homes being shown by other realtors by using a shared online multiple listing service.

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