Using home Equity to "Age in Place"

Many retiree households want to age in their own homes. The ability to finance this choice through the use of housing equity is not well understood or widely used. Yet, it is likely to become an increasingly important part of retirement funding in the near future.

The key focus of this research is to explore how households might realise their desire to age in place using home equity. Globally, utilising equity in the home to support quality of life in latter years is not new or uncommon. Yet in Australia it is not typically regarded as being a standard option by retirees. Notably, the market for home equity products is small which may also be limiting the extent to which retirees see this as a viable option.

Using equity to facilitate aging in place is likely to be seen as a more viable option- especially for retirees that are asset rich but income poor. Utilising equity in this way will likely lead to service innovations (e.g., in health) that will require a careful and well-thought out regulatory approach. Scoping the likely trends and their (unintended) consequences will be important consideration of this investigation.

The research is intended to examine the following themes:

a) The supply-side dynamics of the aged care sector, including supported in-home care and residential care. This would include policy, regulatory settings, and market forces that drive the current aged care provisions to support in home care and care and support in residential aged care facilities;

b) The demand-side considerations including consumer perceptions and appetites for choice and flexibility of care to suit current, anticipated and unanticipated needs,

c) The financing options available to support ageing in place and in particular to examine the experiences of those retirees that have used equity release products to supplement income in retirement.

Proposed postgraduate research program

  • School: School of Economics, Finance and Marketing
  • Course name: DR203
  • Program name: PhD(Economics, Finance and Marketing)

Industry partnership

This research builds on a number of academic and industry papers. This includes work conducted for the Australian Centre for Financial Studies and the Australian Housing Urban Research Institute. Each supervisor will draw on their extensive links with industry. More details regarding specific industry links are available upon request from the supervisors.

Value and duration

A stipend of $32,000 per year over the duration of three years.

Number of scholarships available



To be considered for scholarship you must hold, or be currently completing either:

  • Master by research 
  • Master by coursework with a significant research component graded as high distinction, or equivalent 
  • Honours degree achieving first class honours 
  • 4 year bachelor degree achieving a GPA of 4 or equivalent (80% or above). 
  • If you do not hold one of the above qualifications you will only be considered for scholarship if you have previous peer reviewed publications or significant research experience. 

    Please make sure that you check the individual eligibility requirements of these scholarships prior to submitting your application. 

    It is also important to note that the scholarship rounds are highly competitive and satisfying the eligibility requirements does not guarantee a successful outcome. When a scholarship round closes all applications are received are ranked in order of merit. This process takes five to six weeks to complete. Applicants are typically advised of the outcome of a scholarship round five to six weeks after the round closes for applications.

How to apply

How to apply: International applicants need to apply for admission via  and ensure that there is an offer in place before submitting a scholarship application via the Graduate Research Scholarship application form. Domestic applicants can continue to apply for both admission and scholarship via this Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Admission and Scholarship Application Form (PDF). Domestic applicants who already hold an offer of admission from RMIT for a PhD or Masters by Research program but have not enrolled may apply for a scholarship using the Graduate Research Scholarship application form.

Open date

Applications are open until 4 May 2018. International applicants must have an offer of place prior to applying for a scholarship and are encouraged to submit an admission application by 27 April 2018.

Terms and conditions

See the research scholarship terms and conditions (PDF 327KB) for more information.


Dr Stuart Thomas
+61 3 9925 5773

Associate Professor Ashton de Silva
+61 3 9925 1313

Dr Sarah Sinclair
+61 3 9925 1329