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Measuring housing affordability: scoping the real costs of housing

Housing affordability is largely understood as the relationship between direct housing costs (mortgage and rent payments) and household income. It is tied to the principle that households should have access to an adequate standard of housing without the cost burden impacting on household wellbeing. Key housing-related factors such as transportation and energy costs can induce financial and non-financial implications for households yet remain omitted from traditional housing affordability measures.

Given the limitations of existing housing affordability measures, the scoping project will examine the various housing-related factors impacting on household expenditure and wellbeing including energy and transport costs. It will assess available data sources that could be used to deliver an accurate assessment of housing affordability.

Three research questions guide this study: 

  1. How have energy, transportation and other essential housing costs been considered in domestic and international housing affordability literature? 
  2. To what extent do households factor in these housing-related costs into their housing consumption decisions? 
  3. How might available household data be used to better inform housing affordability policy?

Through a multi-method approach, the scoping project will review domestic and international literature on housing affordability, analyse Australian housing literature, conduct interviews with housing industry experts and examine domestic data sources to identify how indirect housing costs could be used to develop a more comprehensive set of housing affordability indicators. 

Lead Researcher: Dr Adam Crowe, Curtin University

Project Number: 81288