New For Purpose Real Estate Agency Launches to Address Affordable Housing
2 October 2017 at 4:17 pm
A new for-purpose real estate agency has been launched in NSW, to serve the growing demand for affordable housing solutions across the state.
The agency, Echo Realty, was created by parent company Evolve Housing, one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit community housing providers.
Echo Realty will specialise in property management of both private and affordable housing, and will debut its services in October, with access to more than 600 properties in the greater Sydney region and the Central Coast of NSW.
It will focus on the management of affordable housing properties on behalf of property developers, private property investors, and local and state governments, but will do so without any government subsidies.
A recent IPSOS poll found housing was seen as the third most important issue facing Australians. In Sydney, the median price for a separate house has climbed more than 80 per cent in the past five years.
Evolve Housing CEO, Andrea Galloway, told Pro Bono News that Echo Realty would reinvest its profits back into growing the supply of affordable housing and support programs, to deal with this worsening crisis.
“This reinvestment is very important for us, because one of the problems we have is with [a lack of] investment in affordable housing,” Galloway said.
“Any profits we make will be able to go straight into creating more units of affordable housing.
“Housing affordability is absolutely getting worse, but what I like is that’s there’s a lot of attention on it now… especially from the NSW government.”
Galloway said unlike traditional for-profit real estate agents, Echo Realty was “uniquely positioned to do property differently”.
“Our focus on creating thriving communities means we deliver high quality outcomes for the property owner, the tenant and the local community,” she said.
“Affordable housing gives low to moderate income workers the opportunity to find affordable accommodation close to where they work, without forfeiting their ability to possibly save for a house deposit or a private rental arrangement.
“Through our services, we want to change the perceptions of those in the community who oppose affordable housing developments. After all, it could be their own children that may have to rely on it as house prices continue to soar.
“It’s my belief that Australians cannot afford to not support affordable housing. With the support of government policy and everyone in the community, affordable housing can be a win-win for all stakeholders.”
Galloway added that Echo Realty was able to manage private sector housing as well, and would target private investors “with a social heart”.
“Those people in the private sector who want us to manage their property, if they have a social heart, they know they’re paying a property manager where the surpluses are going straight back into creating outcomes for affordability, rather than lining the pockets of directors or shareholders in private real estate agencies,” she said.
“And that’s one of the key differences for Echo Realty, that we can do private and affordable management for investors.”
Speaking at Echo Realty’s official launch last Tuesday, NSW state MP Dr Geoff Lee said affordable housing was a significant problem in the state, with work needed to be done “with the community and industry to find real solutions”.
“Most people agree we need to increase supply of affordable housing. I commend CEO Andrea Galloway and Evolve Housing for leading in innovation in this area,” he said.
“This new initiative demonstrates their dedication and commitment to driving better outcomes and to helping people achieve independence.”
Echo Realty’s launch comes a year after Australia’s first not-for-profit real estate agency, HomeGround Real Estate, rolled their model out across the country.