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New community agency launched, tackles Sydney housing crisis

By Tim Neary
29 September 2017 | 10 minute read
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One of the largest not-for-profit national community housing providers in Australia has launched a new for-purpose real estate agency. 

Evolve Housing has launched Echo Realty, a new division designed with a difference to serve the growing demand for affordable housing solutions in NSW.

The Echo Realty team will be led by CEO Andrea Galloway. It has extensive experience in general property management and will focus on the management of affordable housing properties on behalf of local and state government, property developers and private property investors.

Ms Galloway said that Echo Realty is “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 who 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.”

Ms Galloway said that recent opinion polls show rising community anxiety over the cost of housing, with the latest Ipsos Public Affairs Issues Monitor placing housing among the top concerns in NSW.

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She added that, given that the median price for a separate house in Sydney has climbed by over 80 per cent in the past five years, affordable housing solutions must be found.

“To help tackle this issue, Echo Realty will reinvest its profits back into growing the supply of affordable housing stock and support programs that empower disadvantaged individuals to reach greater independence.

“Often confused with social housing, affordable housing provides cheaper rental accommodation for low- to moderate-income earners.

“Affordable housing tenants are often key workers providing essential services to the public sector, but struggle to buy or rent on the wages they earn. A failure to provide homes that key workers can afford will lead to teachers, nurses and emergency service workers leaving our cities.”

To mark the opening of Echo Realty’s office, member for Parramatta Geoff Lee MP and David Borger, director of the Sydney Business Chamber, joined the Echo Realty team to unveil a plaque.

Dr Lee MP reiterated that affordable housing is a significant issue in NSW.

“We need to work with the community and industry to find real solutions,” he said.

“Most people agree that we need to increase supply of affordable housing.”

He also commended Ms Galloway for “leading in innovation” in this area.

“This new initiative demonstrates their dedication and commitment to driving better outcomes and to helping people achieve independence.”

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