The Lifetime Affordable and Tenable City Housing (LATCH) project aims to provide essential research into homebuyer decision making and lived experience of households.
This research will have implications with regards to affordability, liveability and housing planning and policy development.
Funding has been provided by the Australian Research Council (ARC) to carry out this work under the Linkage Projects Scheme for a period of three years from 2015.
The Linkage Projects Scheme supports collaborative research and development projects between higher education organisations and other organisations, including within industry, to enable the application of advanced knowledge to problems. Collaborating Partner Organisations (PO’s) for the project are SJB Urban and the Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA) (both from Victoria).
The project aims to specifically:
- develop new knowledge about the factors considered and processes employed by householders in home purchase decision making.
- develop a tool that assists householders in considering and combining important factors in making more informed housing decisions, and use this in turn to analyse decision making.
- conduct a study of some 60 households (both owner-occupied and rental) to understand the context within which housing decisions are made and experienced.
- develop a simulation model and development methodology to assist urban planners in understanding the potential long term effects of various policy alternatives, given the increased understanding of householder decision making.
Australia is one of the world’s most urbanised nations and significant further growth is expected over the coming decades. ABS trends show that urban infill development towards a more compact urban form is occurring, albeit gradually. There remain significant concerns that current markets, practices and patterns of urban policy and planning are insufficient to enable the pace and type of change needed to address looming liveability and affordability issues.
Decisions made by occupants about where they live, and in what they live, can have significant impacts to their ongoing health, well-being and financial outcomes in addition to wider societal and environmental implications. Little research has been done on the manner in which home buyers actually make decisions. This project will explore the use of a ‘tool’ that includes liveability and affordability related information tailored to households’ specific location and household situation. It will also explore scenarios for future housing and the urban landscape.
The project will follow a specific and focused research approach in addressing the above. As a result, policy makers will be able to draw on systematic research which quantifies and analyses the decision making process and implications of these choices with regards to liveability and affordability.
Significance and innovation
The project will provide new insights into how households currently make home-buying decisions and provide tools that can support households in making more informed decisions. Such purchases are not only significant in financial terms, but have major and ongoing social, cultural and economic implications for the household. It is important that we understand how decisions about home purchases are made; the aggregate result of the system of supply and demand of housing is an enduring range of cities and neighbourhoods that will be expected to serve both immediate needs and those of future generations.
The innovative contribution of the project resides, firstly, in its analysis of home-buying and rental decision making and the consideration of longer term social, economic and environmental considerations within this process. Secondly, the analysis of the decision making process will be used to inform a housing affordability tool which allows for a targeted analysis for properties under consideration from potential home owners or renters. This will provide them with more detailed information about the various impacts longer term about their decision. Thirdly, an actor-based model will be used to test future policy development scenarios which will help inform urban development outcomes and the implications of wider urban planning decisions.
This project will use Melbourne as the case city but we expect results will be indicative of other mainland state capital cities in Australia, and to other cities in as much as they have similar patterns of urban development.