Reframing Housing Affordability

Housing affordability has been a contentious topic for many decades. Much of the existing research, however, has been on the ability of households to purchase a home and service a mortgage (or rents), rather than (continue to) own one. Given costs associated with utilities, insurance and natural hazards, existing research is likely to considerably understate the problem of housing affordability. This thesis will identify flaws of current standard measures of housing affordability and will identify whether and to what extent financially vulnerable households make trade-offs between housing-associated costs such as utilities, insurance, and home ownership.

The findings will provide actionable insights for stakeholders involved in the design and development of affordable housing. By focusing on developing a set of innovative measures that frame housing affordability in terms of whole-of-ownership-life, this research will deliver benefits against State and Commonwealth policies and plans, including the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement. This agreement by the Council of Australian Governments commenced on 1 January 2009, initiating a whole-of-government approach in tackling the problem of housing affordability for all Australians across the housing spectrum. The current NAHA aims to ensure that all Australians have access to affordable, safe and sustainable housing that contributes to social and economic participation.

Identified trends in home ownership will also enable the research to focus on specific cohorts experiencing particular difficulty in both accessing affordable housing and managing their liabilities, adversely impacting their social and economic participation. .

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 reports co-authored with the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Further, it also builds on work conducted for the Australian Centre for Financial Studies.

Each supervisor has extensive links with industry and will draw on these relationships throughout the course of the research.

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.


Associate Professor Ashton de Silva
+61 3 9925 1313

Associate Professor Jonathan Boymal
+61 3 9925 5571

Dr Sveta Angelopoulos
+61 3 9925 5583