KP Sharma  

A 25-year-old Bhutanese, Sangay Kunchok, has taken decisive action to address the pressing housing challenges encountered by the Bhutanese community in Perth, Western Australia.

Witnessing families squeezed into cramped units, enduring exploitative living conditions in shared spaces, and even resorting to sleeping in vehicles, Sangay Kunchok felt compelled to act.

His goal is to offer stable and secure rental accommodations for the well-being of Bhutanese in Australia.

From Shaba in Paro, Sangay Kunchok went to Australia in August 2022 to pursue Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Murdoch University.

Before the pandemic, he established a startup called “Thunder Guide” to tackle the scarcity of language-speaking tour guides in Bhutan.

However, when the pandemic struck and tourism sector being hit the most, he shifted his focus to “The Care”, a social enterprise aimed at mitigating the labour supply shortage and high unemployment rates in the commercial and construction sectors.

But the housing crisis among Bhutanese immigrants in Australia, particularly in Perth, was becoming increasingly challenging.

Realising the urgency of the situation, Sangay Kunchok saw a chance to impact the real estate sector positively and offer vital assistance to his fellow Bhutanese in Australia.

Despite feeling nervous about entering the real estate industry as a newcomer to both the country and the field, he embarked on his journey by taking on a full-time role as a sales prospector at Minic Property Group.

However, the demanding nature of the role alongside his studies forced him to switch to Raine & Horne, where he began as a part-time assistant property manager.

Over time, he worked up to six months to become a property manager and in addition, he took on the role of business development manager (BDM).

Sangay Kunchok has been able to secure rental accommodations for 32 Bhutanese families, with eight families finding homes just last month. 

“Many of these families were struggling to navigate the stringent rental application process,” he said. 

Through his personal networks and advocacy for Bhutanese community members, he has successfully secured housing for those who were previously overlooked.

Sangay Kunchok prioritises the needs of the Bhutanese community to secure housing. 

He hosts private viewings for interested applicants before properties are advertised to the general public and provides guidance on building strong rental applications, ensuring tenants are informed about their rights and responsibilities. 

“This personalised approach has proven effective in helping Bhutanese applicants secure housing in a competitive market,” said Sangay Kunchok.

Sangay Kunchok also offers free or low-cost legal assistance to those facing real estate-related legal issues and conducts homeownership counselling sessions tailored to the unique needs of the Bhutanese community.

As a licensed real estate sales agent and property manager, Sangay Kunchok said that his ultimate goal is to empower Bhutanese individuals and families to realise their Australian dream through the entire building to buying process.

As the housing market in Australia experiences significant growth, particularly in Perth where house values are rising by approximately AUD 37,000 a quarter, Sangay Kunchok sees bigger opportunity for Bhutanese immigrants to secure their financial future through real estate investment. 

He feels that this investment not only enriches individual lives but also contributes to the economic development and prosperity of Bhutan. 

“As our community becomes self-sufficient and prosperous, we anticipate a reverse investment scenario, where Bhutanese individuals in Perth invest back in Bhutan.”