The Australian dream: new research centre to contribute to affordable housing policy


Secure and affordable housing is fundamental to the wellbeing of all Australians, yet there has been a concentrated decrease in home ownership for people aged under 55.

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey shows that home ownership rates have fallen among 25- to 34-year-olds from 39 per cent in 2002 to 29 per cent in 2014, with similar declines among those aged between 35 and 54.

To help tackle these and other issues connected to housing, the University of South Australia has this month established a new research centre.

The research centre has been formed through a new partnership with the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), a national, independent research network that provides high quality research to influence and improve policy development in this sector.

The AHURI Research Centre is co-hosted by the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences (EASS) and the UniSA Business School.

New Centre Director, Associate Professor Christine Garnaut from the School of Art, Architecture and Design (EASS), says the centre is a valuable addition for UniSA, enabling the University to address issues of utmost importance for all Australians.

“Housing affordability continues to be one of Australia’s greatest modern-day challenges, and through the AHURI network and our new centre, we will be actively contributing to ongoing debates and discussion about, as well as proposing solutions for, this very real problem,” Assoc Prof Garnaut says.

“The centre will contribute to critical, evidence-based policy development on a range of issues, including: housing supply and affordability; planning and infrastructure development; homelessness; economic productivity; and social cohesion and wellbeing.

“And, as our centre’s research strengths in ageing, housing, urban planning and finance match well with AHURI’s key research themes including housing and welfare, tax and housing policy we will create strong synergies for research collaboration across our two divisions.”

Co-director of the new AHURI Research Centre, Dr Braam Lowies (School of Commerce, UniSA Business School) says the new centre hopes to encourage industry grants and investment.

“As our researchers collaborate across divisions and with other institutions in AHURI, we’re not only extending our knowledge, but we’re also opening doors to potential new grants and projects, which can provide significant funding for other research opportunities,” Dr Lowies says.

“We intend to provide the very latest research and insights with the hope that we can continue to excel and contribute to policy development to truly improve the lives of everyday Australians.”

The AHURI Research Centre will work across multiple disciplines including: architecture, urban and regional planning, econometrics, geography, sociology, finance, social work, psychology, marketing, transport modelling, health economics, property/valuation and history.

For more information about AHURI visit