Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Dr Braam Lowies

Main Campus
City West

Applications Close
11 Dec 2022

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate

Tuition Fees:
All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. International students who receive a stipend are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$28,854 p.a. available to domestic applicants only

About this project 

Address housing affordability issues in Australia

If you’re keen to pursue a career in behavioural economics and interested in addressing housing affordability, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a project-based PhD in partnership with Credit Union South Australia.

Recently, housing affordability has become a significant issue in Australia. House prices continue to outpace income growth, and as such, younger generations have much lower rates of home ownership than their previous counterparts in Australia. One behavioural concept that helps explain the types of asset pricing bubbles which worsen housing affordability is herding. Herding in the housing market can be detrimental for two reasons. First, it can contribute to house price booms which make homes less affordable for low-income families, non-speculators, and first-home buyers who become essentially locked-out of the market over time. Second, asset bubbles can also cause a lot of financial destruction if there is a major correction – people who are late to herd can end up with large mortgage debt to income levels, high debt servicing costs and, in the worst case, negative equity. One suggested yet largely unexplored reason for why people may discount their own private information to follow the herd includes Veblenian-style motivations for social status. Thus, the aim of this research is to examine the link between status-driven herding in the housing market and house price affordability, particularly for younger generations, non-speculators, first-home buyers, and low-income families.

You will join a leading research environment in UniSA Business, that has a well-established reputation for research into housing, finance, economics, and social policy that delivers a positive impact on society. UniSA Business is the only business school in South Australia accredited by both AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and European Foundation for Management Development (EQUIS), ensuring a high level of maintained quality in both research and teaching. 

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will gain a range of transferrable skills, including written and verbal communication, public speaking, analytical and problem-solving, project management, critical thinking and collaborating with others.

UniSA Business has considerable research resources, including hardware, software (Nvivo, SPSS, STATA and Qualtrix), and relevant research support staff, to support you in your research journey. There will be several opportunities to travel to appropriate academic conferences and participate in PhD colloquia presented by The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, the Pacific Rim Real Estate Society, and the Society for the Advancement of Behavioural Economics.

Where you’ll be based

You will be based at UniSA Business. We develop career-ready graduates, and positively affect communities and environments locally, nationally, and globally. We offer a suite of innovative programs in disciplines including business, accounting and finance, marketing, management, tourism and events, and property, as well as our Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Executive Education programs. 

Our researchers are thought leaders who engage in world-class research and share their insights with students, industry, and government partners. Our findings translate directly into results that transform businesses and affect communities for the better. Our reach extends beyond the classroom. We offer advice in taxation and marketing at our free clinics, giving students valuable opportunities to apply their skills and make an impact in their community. People, technology, and the global marketplace are all changing rapidly. UniSA Business is for strategists, disruptors and entrepreneurs who are ready to lead from the front.  

Supervisory Team

Financial Support

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses.  Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $28,854 per annum is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders. Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $45,076 per annum. A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included.  For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Eligibility and Selection 

This project is open to application from domestic applicants only. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate. The successful applicant is expected to study full-time, and to be based at our City West Campus in the heart of Adelaide.

Essential Dates

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer. Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on, Sunday 11 December 2022.

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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