Research into homebuyer decision making and lived experience of households.

  • Project dates: 2014–2016

Australia is one of the world’s most urbanised nations and significant further growth is expected over the coming decades. ABS trends show that urban infill development towards a more compact urban form is occurring, albeit gradually. There remain significant concerns that current markets, practices and patterns of urban policy and planning are insufficient to enable the pace and type of change needed to address looming liveability and affordability issues.

Decisions made by occupants about where they live, and in what they live, can have significant impacts to their ongoing health, well-being and financial outcomes in addition to wider societal and environmental implications. Little research has been done on the manner in which home buyers actually make decisions. This project will explore the use of a ‘tool’ that includes liveability and affordability related information tailored to households’ specific location and household situation. It will also explore scenarios for future housing and the urban landscape.

The project aims to specifically:

  • develop new knowledge about the factors considered and processes employed by householders in home purchase decision making.
  • develop a tool that assists householders in considering and combining important factors in making more informed housing decisions, and use this in turn to analyse decision making.
  • conduct a study of some 80 households to understand the context within which housing decisions are made and experienced.
  • develop a simulation model and development methodology to assist urban planners in understanding the potential long term effects of various policy alternatives, given the increased understanding of householder decision making.

The project will provide new insights into how households currently make home-buying decisions and provide tools that can support households in making more informed decisions. Such purchases are not only significant in financial terms, but have major and ongoing social, cultural and economic implications for the household. It is important that we understand how decisions about home purchases are made; the aggregate result of the system of supply and demand of housing is an enduring range of cities and neighbourhoods that will be expected to serve both immediate needs and those of future generations.

This project uses Melbourne as the case city but results are indicative of other mainland state capital cities in Australia, and to other cities in as much as they have similar patterns of urban development.

Industry Partners

SJB Urban

SJB Urban is a specialist, independent urban design practice, which provides award-winning and widely recognised work for State and Local government bodies (strategic plans, frameworks and master plans), and for private-sector development companies (urban design guidance for individual developments).

SJB Urban are engaged in a broad range of strategic planning, design, review and assessment, rating / evaluation, consultation and advisory project commissions, as well as research and development activities in Victoria, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and South Australia, from offices in Melbourne and Sydney.

They bring extensive relevant experience in the design and planning of urban centres, regional locations, employment precincts and growth corridors to this project. SJB Urban’s work is carried out for both public sector (State and Local Government) and private sector clients (developers, individual property owners and managers). Within their project work they regularly facilitate community and stakeholder engagement / consultation through meetings, workshops, surveys and other forums, in urban centres, peripheral areas and regional locations.

The Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA)

The Metropolitan Planning Authority was launched in October 2013 to manage growth and maintain quality as they seek to retain Melbourne’s standing as the world’s most liveable city. This includes strategic planning and infrastructure coordination activities as they examine opportunities to unlock land capacity to identify strategic urban renewal, infill and greenfields sites. Planning for the future now will support investment, infrastructure delivery, business activity and jobs growth, and ensure a steady supply of housing.

The MPA works closely with Councils, State Government departments and agencies across Melbourne and in regional centres where required. Key tasks include:

  • Strategic planning and work to streamline approvals to make targeted areas in Melbourne and regional cities “development ready” and affordable;
  • Integrating land use and infrastructure planning, including coordinating across Government portfolios and providing advice to Government on priorities;
  • Creating jobs through well planned and developed National Employment Clusters and extensions to the Central City, and;
  • Unlocking land capacity of strategic sites in the suburbs, in inner city areas and in regional centres.

Up to 1.4 million new dwellings will be required between 2015 and 2050 to house Melbourne’s growing population. Additional housing will be required in regional centres. It is important that MPA starts planning now for this growth to ensure increased demand can be accommodated, while maintaining housing quality. This approach includes planning for diversity of housing stock, making use of the Government’s new residential zoning across all of Melbourne and providing jobs and services close to home.

Key People

Project Researchers

Postgraduate Researchers

  • Mr Bhagya Wickramasinghe

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Understanding housing systems and housing-related outcomes for more equitable and sustainable futures.