Centre for Urban Transitions

Inquiry into housing aspirations and constraints for lower-income Australians (Inquiry)

The housing increasing numbers of Australians aspire to and need and the housing they can afford and access is growing. What we call the ‘housing aspirations gap’ now affects households from all walks of life at key life stages.

This two-year project (2017–2018) is funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI 51170, Category 1 Funding), to utilise innovative quantitative and qualitative methods to develop an evidence-base for policy development and innovation to support low to moderate income Australian’s housing opportunities.

This linked program of three research projects and a Policy Inquiry panel including key stakeholders, establishes the evidence base needed to transform housing policy in Australia to better meet the housing aspirations of lower-income Australian households at three key life stages; young adult, mid– and later-life , and vulnerable groups within each. This includes a focus on Indigenous housing, led by Dr Angela Spinney.

The policy emphasis in this program of research is enhancing the innovative policy settings across national and state and territory jurisdictions, needed to address the housing aspirations gap, and developing existing options.

The research program is led by Lead CI Associate Professor Wendy Stone. The Swinburne research team comprises, Dr Sharon Parkinson, Ms Margaret Reynolds and Professor Terry Burke.

Research collaboration: Associate Professor Steven Rowley and Dr Amity James, both of Curtin University.

Contact

Associate Professor Wendy Stone
t: +61 3 9214 8967
e: wmstone@swin.edu.au


Young Australians and the housing aspirations gap

The social, economic and demographic changes impacting upon young adults today are part of a global phenomenon. It is clear that policies assisting previous generations to realise their housing aspirations are no longer sufficient.

This research develops an innovative national Australian’s Housing Aspirations (AHA) survey and includes a multi-method approach to examine the extent to which lower-income young Australian adults (18–34 years) are constrained in achieving their shelter and non-shelter aspirations and how policy innovation can be harnessed to reduce short, medium to longer-term aspirations gaps identified.

The research forms part of a larger AHURI Evidence-based Policy Inquiry into housing aspirations and constraints for lower-income Australians. The research will enable policymakers to better target housing assistance to reduce the aspirations gap of young adults by promoting greater opportunities for building wealth and security throughout the life course.

The Swinburne research team comprises: Dr Sharon Parkinson (Project lead), Associate Professor Wendy Stone (Inquiry Program Lead) and Dr Angela Spinney

Research collaboration: Associate Professor Steven Rowley, and Dr Amity James.

Contact

Dr Sharon Parkinson
t: +61 3 9214 8404
e: sparkinson@swin.edu.au


Mid-life Australians' housing aspirations

By mid-life, around ages 35–54, Australian households have achieved relatively high levels of housing security, are working towards these, or are ‘locked out’ from housing security through accumulated disadvantage or life disruptions Risk factors for housing insecurity at mid-life include divorce/separation, disability or illness, migration, job loss/underemployment or a longer-term inability to keep up with high rents and mortgage costs.

This two-year project (2017–2018) is funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI 51172, Category 1 Funding). The research develops an innovative national Australian’s Housing Aspirations (AHA) survey and includes a multi-method approach, to develop an evidence-base upon which to build policy development and innovation to support low to moderate income Australian’s housing opportunities.

The research forms part of a larger AHURI Evidence-based Policy Inquiry into housing aspirations and constraints for lower-income Australians. It delivers essential evidence-based policy development options for policy development and innovation to improve opportunities for growing numbers of households at mid-life who face highly constrained housing opportunities resulting in an ‘aspirations gap’ they will carry into retirement years.

The Swinburne research team comprises Associate Professor Wendy Stone (Project Lead & Program Inquiry Lead), Dr Sharon Parkinson and Dr Angela Spinney.

Research collaboration: Dr Amity James (Project Lead CI) and Associate Professor Steven Rowley, both of Curtin University.

Contact

Associate Professor Wendy Stone
t: +61 3 9214 8967
e: wmstone@swin.edu.au


Older Australians' housing aspirations

Recent evidence shows more Australians are retiring with inadequate wealth and housing security to live well in post-retirement years, introducing risk for individuals and cost-burden for governments and communities.

This two-year project (2017–2018) is funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI 81173, Category 1 Funding). The research develops an innovative national Australian’s Housing Aspirations (AHA) survey and includes a multi-method approach, to develop an evidence-base to build policy development and innovation to support low to moderate income Australian’s housing opportunities in older age.

The research forms part of a larger AHURI Evidence-based Policy Inquiry into housing aspirations and constraints for lower-income Australians. It delivers essential evidence-based policy development options for policy development and innovation to improve opportunities for growing numbers of households who face highly constrained, unsustainable, housing opportunities in their later years.

The Swinburne research team comprises Associate Professor Wendy Stone (Program Lead CI), Dr Sharon Parkinson and Dr Angela Spinney.

Research collaboration: Dr Amity James (Project Lead CI), Association Professor Steven Rowley and Professor Eileen Webb, all of Curtin University .

Contact

Associate Professor Wendy Stone
t: +61 3 9214 8967
e: wmstone@swin.edu.au


The future of the private rental sector (Inquiry)

The aim of the Inquiry is to develop a detailed and evidence-based understanding of institutional changes in the Australian private rental sector and consequent opportunities and challenges for improving the sector in the future.

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute is funding the Inquiry (AHURI 51120) over two years (2016–2017).

The Inquiry is investigating Australian and international policies and practices responding to an increase in the number of households who rent in the private market. Private renters are very diverse and include a growing number of lower and higher income households.

Research collaboration: The Inquiry research leadership team comprises Professor Kath Hulse (Inquiry Leader) and Dr Sharon Parkinson from Swinburne’s Centre for Urban Transitions and Professor Hal Pawson and Dr Chris Martin from the UNSW City Futures Research Centre.

There are three supporting research projects:

Contact

Professor Kath Hulse
t: +61 3 9214 5321
e: khulse@swin.edu.au


The institutional dynamics of the Australian private rental sector: Prospects and opportunities

The aim of the project is to scope, map and analyse institutional change in Australia’s growing private rental sector and to consider implications of this change for future reform of the sector.

It is funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI 51121) over two years (2016–2017) as one of three research projects in an Inquiry into the Future of the Private Rental Sector.

The project examines:

  • the dynamics and drivers of emerging trends in the institutions of Australia’s private rental sector; and
  • the consequent opportunities and challenges for the sector.

The Swinburne research team comprises Professor Kath Hulse (Project Leader & Program Lead) and Associate Professor Wendy Stone.

Research collaboration: Dr Chris Martin (University of NSW) and Dr Amity James (Curtin University).

This project links closely with two other projects, which are part of the Inquiry into the Future of the Private Rental Sector

Contact

Professor Kath Hulse
t: +61 3 9214 5321
e: khulse@swin.edu.au


Innovation and change in the institutions of private rental housing: An international review 

The aim of the project is to establish the key lessons from institutional change in the private rental sectors (PRS) of countries, which are comparable to Australia to assist in developing institutional reform relevant to the growing Australian private rental sector.

It is funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI 51121) over two years (2016–2017) as one of three research projects in an Inquiry into the Future of the Private Rental Sector.

The project examines:

  • Recent institutional developments or trends in the private renal sectors of selected countries of relevance to Australia
  • The implications and outcomes of recent PRS institutional developments in these countries e.g. on access, dwelling type and terms and conditions of tenancy.
  • Learning relevant learning to reform of Australia’s PRS, having regard to differences in institutional and market context.

The Swinburne research team comrpises: Professor Kath Hulse.

Research collaboration: Dr Chris Martin (Project Leader) and Professor Hal Pawson, both of the University of NSW as well as international experts from nine other countries.

This project links closely with two other projects, which are part of the Inquiry into the Future of the Private Rental Sector.

Contact

Professor Kath Hulse
t: +61 3 9214 5321
e: khulse@swin.edu.au


Improving outcomes for lower-income private renter households: Opportunities and challenges

The Private Rental Sector (PRS) has come to play an increasingly central role in the Australian housing system over the last 20 years. As a sector it is moving through a period of institutional transformation shaped by more frenzied investment activity and new forms of sharing facilitated by online platforms and a social economy for renting that is resulting in increased segmentation among income groups. This project investigates the barriers and opportunities for lower-income private renters in being able to navigate the PRS in the context of such institutional change.

The research forms part of a larger AHURI Evidence-based Policy Inquiry into the Future of the Private Rental Sector. It will enable policy makers to consider the challenges and opportunities for innovation in delivering better outcomes at the low end of the PRS for the future.

The Swinburne research team comprises Dr Sharon Parkinson and Professor Terry Burke.

Research collaboration: Dr Amity James (Curtin University) and Dr Edgar Liu (University of NSW).

Contact

Dr Sharon Parkinson
t: +61 3 9214 8404
e: sparkinson@swin.edu.au


The role of investor landlords in restructuring Australia’s major cities

This study is investigating the drivers and consequences of growing private rental investment especially in disadvantaged areas of Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne.

A three-year project (2015–2017) funded by the Australian Research Council (DP150102582), it involves Swinburne and the University of New South Wales.

The research is investigating:

  • Changes in the ownership and geography of the private rental housing stock in Sydney and Melbourne since the early 1990s and the extent of its association with emerging areas of suburban social disadvantage;
  • Factors contributing to growing investor activity in suburban Australia, especially focusing on changes in the context of investment opportunities and the role of rental investment in household wealth management strategies.
  • The consequences of growing private rental provision in disadvantaged suburbs in terms of the longer term socio-economic outcomes for these locations and the impact on local property markets.

The Swinburne research team comprises Professor Kath Hulse and Ms Margaret Reynolds.

Research collaboration: Professor Hal Pawson, Professor Bill Randolph and Dr Chris Martin, all of University of NSW.

Contact

Professor Kath Hulse
t: +61 3 9214 5321
e: khulse@swin.edu.au


Stuck here forever? The dynamics and social consequences of long-term private renting in Australia

A new Generation Rent is emerging in Australia as more people are renting in the private market rather than buying. A third of all private renters – including not only younger people but also families with children and older people – are long-term renters (renting for ten years or more).

This three-year project (2014–2017), funded by the Australian Research Council (DP140101685), involves Swinburne, the University of Technology Sydney and the University of New South Wales.

The project is looking at why some people become long-term renters, how far they are able to make a home and exercise some control over their circumstances and the ways in which long-term renting affects their wellbeing.

The Swinburne research team comprises Professor Kath Hulse and Ms Margaret Reynolds.

Research collaboration: Professor Alan Morris (University of Technology Sydney) and Professor Hal Pawson (University of NSW).

Contact

Professor Kath Hulse
t: +61 3 9214 5321
e: khulse@swin.edu.au


Technological disruption in private housing markets: The case of Airbnb

Airbnb has emerged as a global platform for the search and matching of travellers with hosts for short stays in private dwellings as an alternative to hostel and hotel accommodation. This project examines the impact of Airbnb, a first-wave disruptive housing technology, on the utilisation of private housing in Sydney and Melbourne. It will provide policy-makers with critical insights into Airbnb’s impact on housing opportunity in these cities, and the implications for regulating the platform equitably, effectively and efficiently. The research forms part of a larger AHURI Evidence-based Policy Inquiry into the potential of new technologies to disrupt housing policy.

The Swinburne research team comprises: Dr Sharon Parkinson

Research collaboration: Dr Laura Crommelin (Project Lead), Dr Laurence Troy and Dr Chris Martin, all of the University of NSW.

Contact

Dr Sharon Parkinson
t: +61 3 9214 8404
e: sparkinson@swin.edu.au


Rental Report

This on-going project results in the production of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Service’s (DHHS) quarterly Rental Report. The Rental Report is designed to provide government, industry, and the interested lay public with an understanding of trends in Victoria’s rental market. While Published by DHHS the entire report is researched and produced by staff of the CUT. This involves collection and cleaning of the bond data of the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA), conversion of that data into regional, and suburban tables and figures, and the writing of text interpreting trends.

The Swinburne research team comprises Ms Liss Ralston, Dr Sean McNelis and Professor Terry Burke.

Contact

Professor Terry Burke
t: +61 3 9214 8109
e: tburke@swin.edu.au

Publications

LGBTI Homelessness Risk, Service Needs and Use

The heightened risks and consequences of homelessness among individuals identifying as LGBTI compared with the general population have been well documented in studies abroad yet there has been little systematic research into comparable experiences in Australia. This exploratory research draws on a mixed methods approach using secondary data and interviews to investigate the risks, service needs and use among LGBTI individuals with recent experiences of homelessness and housing insecurity.

The research is based on a collaborative partnership with the Division of General Practice at Melbourne University and adopts an action research approach with the aim of improving the homelessness service system response.

It is funded and supported by a consortium of agencies including the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia (GALFA), Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation, Assia Altman Fund of the Australian Communities Foundation, Launch Housing, Victorian Government Department of Human Services and Bendigo Bank.

The Swinburne research team comprises Dr Sharon Parkinson and Associate Professor Deb Dempsey.

Research collaboration: Associate Professor Ruth McNair and Dr Cal Andrews of the University of Melbourne.

Contact

Dr Sharon Parkinson
t: +61 3 9214 8404
e: sparkinson@swin.edu.au