Housing, regional and urban economic analysis are the key research chapters of this group.

Developing a better understanding of how policy and economic activities can be enacted to improve micro and macro-economic prosperity is a particular focus of all its studies.

The group has a strong interest in exploring linkages between aging, wealth, quality of life, agglomeration, the (global) financial services sector ( e.g., banking), intergenerational wealth transfers, housing wealth and work incentives, demographic change, evaluation of community programs, dynamics of housing affordability and cross-country comparisons of housing policy.

Recent Research Activities:

Aims

The Housing and Urban Economics research program encompasses projects and initiatives which seek to:

  1. Provide a deeper understanding of the housing and commercial property economies. In particular, how these economies shape overall prosperity.
  2. Improve understanding of how household financial stability is influenced by dwelling market factors.
  3. Explore, develop and assess enterprising ideas to address major housing and urban related challenges.
  4. Investigate the (potential) implications of (future) current housing policies on low-income households

Projects

Inquiry into Housing Policies, Labour Force Participation and Economic Growth

2015–2017

This inquiry will develop coherent conceptual frameworks and empirical evidence to guide housing policy reforms that promote Australia’s economic development

Transforming public housing in a federal context

2015–2016

This research examines the transformation of public housing in four federal states: Austria, Germany, Canada and the USA and finds Austria to be a leading example of a sustainable affordable housing industry.

Housing markets, economic productivity, and risk: international evidence and policy implications for Australia

2014–2015

This paper proposes a policy-relevant definition of housing market efficiency and a set of indicators for measuring the responsiveness of housing supply.

Infill Developments: Housing Outcomes Metrics and Evaluation (Project Home)

2016–2019

The project links housing outcomes to metrics and evaluation of housing design in the rapidly growing infill multi-residential sector.

Australian demographic trends and their implications for housing subsidies

2015–2018

Policymakers are concerned that demographic changes will threaten the viability of Australian housing subsidy arrangements.

A New Look at the Channels from Housing to Employment Decisions

2014–2018

This project broadens the research around housing and labour supply by addressing the work incentive implications of rising real house values and the fungibility of assets following mortgage innovation and deregulation.

An Investigation into the Drivers of Housing Supply Responsiveness in Australia

2015–2016

This project estimates and maps the price elasticity of housing supply at a local government area level, providing insights into how various factors affect the speed of housing supply responsiveness to market pressures in Australia.

Lifetime Affordable and Tenable City Housing

2014–2016

Research into homebuyer decision making and lived experience of households.

Making Connections: Housing, Productivity and Economic Development

2016–2018

This study considers the national scale but then focuses on local approaches, reviewing plans and interviewing officials in 13 agencies, to assess how housing are meshed with economic development in strategy formation and monitoring.

The structural drivers of homelessness in Australia 2001-2011

2016–2018

Examination of the impact of housing and labour market factors, demographics and service availability on rates of homelessness across Australia over the past decade.

Key People

Lead researcher

Dr Megan Nethercote

Dr Megan Nethercote

Convener of Housing and Urban Economics Program

Program Researchers

Higher Degree Research Students

  • Kirsten Bevan

Related Content

News & Blog

From hospital to homeless: Victoria’s mental health system fails the most vulnerable

People experiencing homelessness and poor mental health are among Australia’s most vulnerable citizens. Without secure housing and an accessible mental healthcare system, recovery from mental illness is seriously compromised.

Australia’s social housing policy needs stronger leadership and an investment overhaul

Australia will need another 730,000 social housing dwellings in 20 years if it is to tackle homelessness and housing stress among low-income renters.

How could degrowth tackle environmental issues and social inequities?

Successful economies are characterised by growth, so how can “degrowth” in our cities and housing possibly be good for us? Urban academic Anitra Nelson explains.

Is social housing essential infrastructure? How we think about it does matter

As house prices subside from recent record highs, Australians are struggling to obtain the housing they need to be as healthy, well and secure as they could be yet many Australians have no home at all.

Labor’s housing pledge is welcome, but direct investment in social housing would improve it

Despite recent falls in the housing market, housing costs and indebtedness bite deeply into household budgets, especially at Christmas time.

How can high-density living house Victoria’s growing population?

As our state’s numbers grow, we need plan how we accommodate every person. Here, our experts provide their insights on the critical challenges facing Melbourne’s housing needs.

Australia needs to triple its social housing by 2036. This is the best way to do it

Australia needs to triple its small stock of social housing over the next 20 years to cover both the existing backlog and newly emerging need.

Social housing in Australia must triple to meet demand: report

Australia needs to triple the amount of social housing built over the next 20 years if it is to meet future demands, a new study has found.

Nine things to make Melbourne even better

Here our experts share everything you need to know about how policymakers can make Melbourne more liveable, improve our liveability, reduce commuter crushes and increase housing affordability.

When falling home ownership and ageing baby boomers collide

Until now, the majority of older people in Australia have achieved the goal of owning their own home outright. Hence, policymakers have typically shown little concern about the size and budget costs of rental housing assistance programs for seniors.

Why Australia’s homelessness problem is getting worse, despite a rise in housing stock

New housing supply is simply not expanding affordable housing opportunities for the poor in a way that reduces the homelessness count.

The mark of the covenant on housing and planning

The recent Reserve Bank of Australia report The Effect of Zoning on Housing Prices put forward the argument that restrictive zoning is driving Australian house prices up - particularly in Melbourne and Sydney - arguing that that planning policy reform is necessary in order to meet projected population increases.

Homeless numbers will keep rising until governments change course on housing

The number of people experiencing homelessness and the rate of homelessness have both increased. Our research points to problems in the public housing system as one of the more important causes of these increases.

For Australians to have the choice of growing old at home, here is what needs to change

The population of people aged 65 and over in Australia is projected to grow from 3.7 million to 8.7 million by 2056. Cities, towns and housing need to be designed to help people stay at home as they age.

Arts spending brings in the bucks for the Creative City

For the first time, a new study led by RMIT University and the City of Melbourne has quantified the economic and social impact of investment in the arts.

What the baby bonus boost looks like across ten years

The baby bonus did its job, encouraging people to have more children at a time when fertility rates were low, our research finds. Given Australian men and women desire 1.5 more children than they actually have, it might be time to consider policies like this again.

Australians are working longer so they can pay off their mortgage debt

Rising mortgage debt is affecting everything from employment to spending, as Australians approach retirement, our study finds. Higher levels of housing debt among pre-retirees are linked to them working for longer.

Who’s responsible? Housing policy mismatched to our $6 trillion asset

Does the Australian government have the policy, organisational and conceptual capacity to handle the country’s A$6 trillion housing stock?

New study urges for housing to be better recognised in economic policy

A new study led by RMIT researchers calls for stronger coordination between governments on housing policy to better understand the $6 trillion sector’s contributions to national economic productivity.

New study suggests financial wellbeing policy design needs overhaul

As financial inequality worsens in Australia, a new study suggests that the ways to measure and understand what impacts individuals’ financial wellbeing must adjust to focus beyond their circumstances.

Get used to your commute: data confirms houses near jobs are too expensive

Australia’s capital cities are getting more and more units, that are largely concentrated and come with a hefty price tag, a new report shows.

Urban researchers shape Federal Budget plans for affordable housing

Research to help reduce the financing costs for community housing providers by RMIT and the Australian Housing for Urban Research Institute (AHURI) is shaping national plans to improve housing affordability.

2017 Vice-Chancellor Fellows at CUR

The Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellows are researchers with an excellent track record who can make a significant contribution to RMIT's research priority areas.

Flight to safer land post NZ quakes increases housing prices: study

Higher awareness of earthquake risks among residents in Christchurch, New Zealand, has led to increased prices for houses on safer land, a new RMIT study suggests.

Not everyone wins from the bank of mum & dad

The “bank of mum and dad” is helping young Australians with more than just their housing aspirations. 

Poor lending reforms may deprive most vulnerable of home basics: study

Changing lending rules to restrict access to financial services could deprive low-income people of home basics like white goods, furniture and internet access, a new RMIT study suggests.

‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ key to get kids ahead in education, start-ups: study

Adult children inheriting or being gifted wealth from their parents are more likely to have completed university degrees, be self-employed and have higher bank account balances, a new study finds.

Fuzzy households in an era of urban growth

Housing affordability stress is acute for both low-income households and a growing number of middle-income households, and with housing increasingly commodified and financialised, and as affordability reaches crisis levels, owner-occupation models are also being challenged.

How does relationship dissolution influence the housing careers of mothers with kids?

The breakdown of a marriage or partnership can mean housing career adjustments for one or both parties, but how does it affect mothers with dependent children and their housing circumstances?

Housing deprivation or financial debt: betwixt the devil and the deep blue sea?

Houses are not merely homes, says AHRC speaker Ashton De Silva, and the level of wellbeing of a household unit depends on more than just access to a safe and affordable physical structure.

Bohemians, diversity and residential locational choices

The importance of creativity and diversity as drivers of regional growth is well documented but few studies have examined the interaction between creativity and diversity, particularly in the Australian setting.

Are new housing developments in suburbia catering for diverse aspirations?

Better understanding of diverse and multicultural aspirations towards housing and neighbourhood is vital to foster a cultural recognition that responds to various domestic social needs.

Sensible reform to finance affordable housing deserves cross-party support

Much like Australia, the UK has a serious problem with housing affordability and supply, made worse by policy and market settings that fuel instability rental housing.

The Geopolitics of Real Estate: Q&A with Dr Dallas Rogers

Keynote speaker at the 10th Australasian Housing Researchers Conference 2017, Western Sydney University's Dr Dallas Rogers discusses his recent book The Geopolitics of Real Estate: Reconfiguring Property, Capital and Rights.

How is family housing property reshaping welfare regimes?

While intergenerational inequalities have become more pronounced in recent years, they also appear to have reinforced intergenerational cooperation and the revival of the family as a provider of welfare and economic security. 

How do housing and labour market affect homeless entry and exits

Homelessness continues to be a feature of wealthy nations, and most recently, has dominated Victorian front page news, as the figures of people sleeping rough on the streets of Melbourne rise.

Federal relations – millstone or keystone in housing policy?

The Australian government is reshaping federal-state relations that govern many areas of social infrastructure funding and delivery, including public housing. But what type of transformation do we want and how can this best be achieved?

Solutions beyond supply to the housing affordability problem

Treasurer Scott Morrison has outlined his vision for increasing home ownership at a speech to the Urban Development Institute of Australia.

Can the private rental sector provide a secure, affordable housing solution?

Despite a relatively healthy supply-side picture for the general housing market, the expected trickle down of housing opportunities to low-income households in Australia has failed to materialise.

Let’s talk about the family home … and its exemption from the pension means test

As the population ages and the government’s fiscal problems grow, there’s increasing policy interest in tapping into older people’s accumulated housing wealth to support retirement.

What’s the key to home ownership for Gen Y?

Growing concerns about their home ownership prospects have prompted those in Generation Y to become increasingly vocal about the difficulties of achieving home ownership.

Our cities will stop working without a decent national housing policy

We have to move the housing conversation beyond a game of political football about negative-gearing winners and losers. Australia needs a bipartisan, long-term, housing policy.

Turnbull should help the states switch stamp duty for land tax

Before the government considers company or personal income tax cuts, it should help the states replace property stamp duties with a broad based land tax argues the Australian Council of Social Service.

Will house prices ‘collapse’ if negative gearing is changed?

There is much confusion about the effects of Labor’s tax proposals with respect to investors in rental housing.

Super investment pathway could close rental supply gap

A ground-breaking report by RMIT researchers outlines a new investment pathway to lift the supply of affordable rental housing.