With the encouragement and financial support of UNSW alumnus, Mr. Andrew Roberts, the Real Estate Initiative was established in 2012 under the umbrella of the Centre for Applied Economic Research (CAER) within the UNSW Business School. It is a multi-disciplinary initiative, with collaboration between CAER, UNSW Business School and UNSW Built Environment.

Our vision

To develop into a fully-fledged and well-recognised leading Centre for Real Estate Research and Teaching in the Asia Pacific region.

Objectives of the initiative

  • To develop a rigorous research capacity in real estate to meet the need for industry-relevant academic research
  • To provide leadership on Australian policy development relating to real estate
  • To develop graduates and real estate professionals who have a strong grasp of issues affecting real estate in Australia and the region
  • To engage industry in shaping research and learning agendas in real estate

Research affiliates

  • Mr. Andrew Roberts - UNSW alumnus and key founder of the Real Estate Initiative
  • Dr. Nigel Stapledon – Chief Advisor, MacroPlan-Dimasi
  • Dr. Iqbal Syed - School of Economics and Finance, Massey University
  • Dr. Minxian Yang - School of Economics, UNSW
  • Dr. Christopher Gibbs - School of Economics, UNSW
  • Dr. Nalini Prasad - School of Economics, UNSW
  • Rupa Ganguli - PhD student, UNSW Built Environment
  • Dr. Xiangling Liu - Research Fellow, CEPAR
  • Dr. Shanaka Herath - Vice Chancellor's Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Business, University of Wollongong
  • Professor Jan de Haan - Delft University of Technology and Statistics Netherlands
  • Associate Professor Alicia Rambaldi - School of Economics, the University of Queensland
  • Mr. Tom Cusbert - Reserve Bank of Australia
  • Dr. Peter Tulip - Reserve Bank of Australia
  • Mr. Mohamad Mourad - JLL
  • Mr. Vince De Zoysa - JLL
  • Mr. Keith Lee - JLL
  • Mr. Ryan Farrow - Property Council of Australia
  • Mr. Bryan Reid - MSCI
  • Professor Mariano Kulish - The University of Sydney

Areas of research

Research topics are organised under the following two broad themes, with specific topics selected and developed in consultation with key industry partners, through regular formal research meetings, workshops and structured joint research projects.

Financial stability

Topics include:

  • Identification of property ma​rket bubbles and implications for financial markets and policy
  • The role of real estate in multi-asset portfolios (diversification, volatility, hedging)
  • Real estate markets and future trends in other financial markets
  • Real estate and corporate risk management
  • The role of real estate in multi-asset portfolios
  • Pricing of unitized real estate investments for retail and institutional investors
  • Chinese investment, real estate market risk, and the wealth and welfare of Australians

Housing affordability and urban policy

Topics include:

  • Housing and the macro economy: Lifecycle (diversification, volatility, hedging) wealth accumulation, tax treatment of owner occupied housing, economic fundamentals and real estate prices for retail and institutional investors
  • Infrastructure policy and urban development
  • Competition policy and housing affordability
  • Land supply and house prices
  • Understanding regional demand for housing
  • Price indices: Methods for accounting for quality change, spatial indices, decomposing indices into land and structure components
  • Price-rent ratios: understanding the evolution of real estate markets
  • Productivity of the real estate services industry


  • Diewert, W.E. and J. de Haan, 2013, Eurostat Handbook on Residential Property Price Indices (RPPIs), Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

  • Diewert, W.E. and K.J. Fox, 2018, “Alternative User Costs, Productivity and Inequality in US Business Sectors”, in W.H. Greene, L.A. Khalaf, P. Makdissi, R. Sickles, and M-C. Voia (eds.), Productivity and Inequality, Springer, 21–69.

  • Kulish, M. and A. Pagan, 2017, "Estimation and Solution of Models with Expectations and Structural Changes", Journal of Applied Econometrics, Vol. 32(2), pp. 255-274.

    Kulish, M. and D. Rees, 2017, "Unprecedented Changes in the Terms of Trade," Journal of International Economics, forthcoming.

    Deng, Y., M.R. Hu and A. Srinivasan, 2017, "Information Asymmetry and Organizational Structure: Evidence from Real Estate Investment Trusts", Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Vol. 55(1), pp. 32–64.

    Hill, R.J. and I.A. Syed, 2016, "Hedonic Price-Rent Ratios, User Cost, and Departures from Equilibrium in the Housing Market", Regional Science and Urban Economics, Vol. 56, pp. 60-72.

    Qin, Y., H. Zhu and R. Zhu, 2016, "Changes in the distribution of land prices in urban China during 2007–2012", Regional Science and Urban Economics, Vol. 57, pp. 77–90.

    Zhu, H., Y. Deng, R. Zhu and X. He, 2016, "Fear of Nuclear Power? Evidence from Fukushima Nuclear Accident and Land Markets in China", Regional Science and Urban Economics, Vol. 60, pp. 139-154.

    An, X., Y. Deng, J.D. Fisher and M.R. Hu, 2016, "Commercial Real Estate Rental Index: A Dynamic Panel Data Model Estimation", Journal of Real Estate Economics, Vol. 44(2), pp. 378-410.

    Diewert, W.E., K.J. Fox and C. Shimizu, 2016, "Commercial Property Price Indexes and the System of National Accounts", Journal of Economic Surveys, Vol. 30(5), pp. 913–943.

    Diewert, W.E. and K.J. Fox, 2016, "Sunk Costs and the Measurement of Commercial Property Depreciation", Canadian Journal of Economics Vol. 49(4), pp. 1340–1366.

    Stapledon, N.D., 2016, "The Inexorable Rise in House Prices in Australia Since 1970: Unique or Not?", The Australian Economic Review, Vol. 49(3), pp. 317-327.

    Syed, I.A. and J. de Haan, 2017, "Age, Time, Vintage, and Price Indexes: Measuring the Depreciation Pattern of Houses", Economic Inquiry, Vol. 55(1), pp. 580-600.

    Diewert, W.E., J. de Haan and R. Hendricks, 2015, "Hedonic regressions and the Decomposition of a House Price Index into Land and Structure Components", Econometric Reviews, Vol. 34(1-2), pp. 106-126 (DOI: 10.1080/07474938.2014.944791).

    Shimizu, C., W.E. Diewert, K.G. Nishimura and T. Watanabe, 2015, "Estimating quality adjusted commercial property price indexes using Japanese REIT data", Journal of Property Research, Vol. 32(3), pp. 217-239.

    Diewert, W.E. and C. Shimizu, 2015, "A Conceptual Framework for Commercial Property Price Indexes", Journal of Statistical Science and Application, Vol. 3(9-10), pp. 131-152.

    He, W. and M.R. Hu, 2014, "Aggregate Earnings and Market Returns: International Evidence", Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Vol. 49(4), pp. 879–901.

    Kulish, M., 2013, "Solving Linear Rational Expectations Models with Predictable Structural Changes", Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 95(1), pp. 328-336.

    Kulish, M., A. Richards and C. Gillitzer, 2012, "Urban Structure and Housing Prices: Some Evidence from Australian Cities", Economic Record, Vol. 88(282), pp. 303-322.

    Otto, G. and E. Gitelman, 2012, "Supply Elasticity Estimates for the Sydney Housing Market", Australian Economic Review, Vol. 40(2), pp. 176-190.

    Stapledon, N.D., 2012, "Trends and Cycles in Sydney and Melbourne House Prices from 1880 to 2011", Australian Economic History Review, Vol. 52(3), pp. 293–317.

  • Stapledon, N.D., 2016, "Sir Bede Bertrand CALLAGHAN (1912-1993) – banker and chancellor", Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.

    Hu, M.R. and A. Lee, 2016, "Street Name Fluency and Housing Prices", a paper presented at the 2016 Global Chinese Real Estate Congress (GCREC) conference, July 2016, China.

    Syed, I.A., 2016, "Tracking Investment Value Changes of Commercial Real Estate: An Empirical Framework", a paper presented at the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA) International Conference, Alicante, Spain, July 2016; at the 2016 Asia Meeting of the Econometric Society, Kyoto, Japan, August 2016; and at the 69th Econometric Society European meetings, Geneva, Switzerland, August 2016.

    Stapledon, N.D. and K. Fox, 2016, "Value Capture is Not a Magic Pudding: Options for Funding Infrastructure", a report commissioned by the Urban Task Force Research Foundation, supported by Meriton, September 2016.

    Otto, G., 2016, "How Connected are Australia's Major Housing Markets?", working paper.

    Otto, G., 2016, "Spillovers in Commercial Property Classes", working paper.

    Zhu, H., 2016, "The Short-Term Effects of Air Pollution on Land Prices in China", working paper.

    Ji, P.I. and G. Otto, 2015, "Explosive Behaviour in Australian Housing Markets: Rational Bubbles or Not?", UNSW Business School Research Paper No. 2015 ECON 27. The paper was presented at the UNSW Business School inaugural annual Real Estate Symposium, September 2015, Sydney and at the Western Economic Association International 91st Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon, July 2016.

    Holden, R. T., 2015, "Switching Gears: Reforming negative gearing to solve our housing affordability crisis", a report commissioned by the McKell Institute and was subsequently adopted as a policy of the Australian Labour Party, June 2015.

    Stapledon, N.D., 2015, "Inquiry into Home Ownership", a submission to the House of Representative Economic Committee, July 2015.

    Hu, M.R. and S. Aggarwal, 2015, "Liquidity Dynamics between Property Market and REIT Market", a paper presented at: the Asian Real Estate Society (AsRES) Conference July 2014, Gold Coast, Australia; the Australasian Finance and Banking Conference (AFBC) 2014, Sydney, Australia; and the Eastern Financial Association Conference April 2015, New Orleans, US.

    Hu, M.R. and A. Lee, 2015, "Cultural Distance and Housing Prices: Evidence from the Australian Housing Market", a paper presented at the Annual Asian Real Estate Society Conference, July 2015, Washington DC, US, and received the Best Paper Award – Third Level. The paper was also presented at the UNSW Business School inaugural annual Real Estate Symposium, September 2015, Sydney and at the 2016 FMA Asia Pacific Conference, July 2016, Sydney.

    Liu, X. and G. Otto, 2014, "Housing Supply Elasticity in Sydney Local Government Areas", UNSW Business School Research Paper No. 2014-13.

    Stapledon, N.D., 2013, "Australia's Major Terms of Trade and Resource Shocks, 1800-2013: Sources and Impacts", Centre for Economic History-Australian National University Discussion Paper Series 2013-10.

    Kulish, M., L. Ellis and S. Wallace, 2012, "Property Market Cycles as Paths to Financial Distress", Reserve Bank of Australia-BIS Research Conference.

    Stapledon, N.D., 2012, "Historical Housing-related Statistics for Australia 1881-2011 – A Short Note", UNSW Business School Research Paper No. 2012-52.


The Real Estate Initiative was awarded an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant of $625,000 (2014-2017) for their research project: “The Economic Measurement of Property Markets: Prices, Bubbles, Economic Growth and Productivity”. The research project is a collaboration between the Real Estate Initiative and property investor RF Capital together with its associate property fund manager and investor CorVal Partners Limited. The research proposal builds on both firms’ research capacity on property markets, including their data availability and industry expertise.

Education & training

UNSW Real Estate Studies major

From 2014, the UNSW Business School is offering a major in real estate as one of the majors offered in its undergraduate Commerce program. The major was developed in response to strong industry demand for graduates with a mix of skills in economics, finance and law in the area of real estate. It is a cross disciplinary major, with the Schools of Economics, Banking & Finance, Taxation & Business Law and the UNSW Built Environment all teaching courses in the major. The major is modelled on programs offered by leading US business schools and is designed for students who would like to work in real estate investment management or research, in public policy, or more generally in the financial or corporate sectors.

You can find out more information on our Real Estate Studies major on the Real Estate Studies page.

Real Estate Student Society

The Real Estate Student Society was established in October 2014. Since its establishment the Real Estate Student Society has been very proactive. With support from the UNSW Business School, students have been actively engaged with outstanding academics in the field and are taking part in industry events. The Real Estate Student Society has also provided positive feedback on the real estate courses offered as part of the major, and the Real Estate Initiative is looking forward to further expanding its collaboration with them.


BusinessThink interviews

  • Real estate cycles: Walter Torous on smart portfolio allocation
  • Warning signs: Joseph Gyourko on a Chinese slowdown and real estate risk
  • Would you pay extra to live among people who share your background?
  • What goes up: Tim Lawless on the outlook for Sydney and Melbourne housing markets
  • Bidding wars: David Albouy on desirable locations and unaffordable housing

Notes series on housing

​External engagements


  • Professor Jan de Haan, Statistics Netherlands and Delft University of Technology, 2017
  • Associate Professor David Albouy, University of Illinois, 2016
  • Professor Jan de Haan, Statistics Netherlands and Delft University of Technology, 2016
  • Associate Professor Alicia Rambaldi, The University of Queensland, 2016
  • Professor Chihiro Shimizu, Nihon University, 2016
  • Professor Chris Mayer, Columbia Business School, 2015
  • Professor Joe Gyourko, the Wharton School, 2015
  • Dr Jessie Handbury, the Wharton School, 2015
  • Professor Kiyohiko Nishimura, University of Tokyo, 2015
  • Professor Dale Jorgenson, Harvard University, 2014
  • Professor Walter Torous, MIT, 2014
  • Professor Lynne Sagalyn, Columbia Business School, 2013
  • Professor Edward Glaeser, Harvard University, 2012
  • Dr Stephen Oliner, Ziman Center for Real Estate, UCLA, 2012
  • Dr Kim Zieschang, International Monetary Fund, 2012
  • Professor Jan de Haan, Statistics Netherlands and Delft University of Technology, 2012 

Academic real estate centres

Associated industry bodies

Data sources

Research team

Professor Kevin Fox - School of Economics, UNSW
Professor Erwin Diewert - School of Economics, UNSW and Vancouver School of Economics, the University of British Columbia
Associate Professor Glenn Otto - School of Economics, UNSW

Contact us

Professor Kevin Fox
Phone: +61 2 9385 3320
Email: caer@unsw.edu.au