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Housing Microsimulation eResearch Tool (HOUSEMOD)

The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) has developed an online microsimulation model of housing in Australia as an eResearch tool. Housemod is a spatial microsimulation modelling tool for analysing housing policy and housing affordability outcomes for Australia and its regions.
Housemod can be accessed using a University of Canberra staff or student login.

Access the tool here » 

$ per year impact of 2% increase in mortgage rates, Sydney SA regions


The model combines Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census, survey and demographic projections to accurately replicate the current and future regional housing markets. Housemod includes very detailed data at a regional level on the demographic, social and economic circumstances of households. The model is capable of altering demographic, economic and government policy assumptions and considering potential outcomes for both today and future years.

Housemod operationalises the following variables for base, scenario (simulation) and projections data analysis:

  • Rent growth (state level)
  • House prices (state level)
  • Mortgages linked with interest rates
  • Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) maximum rates, minimum rent levels
  • Household income growth (state level)
  • Demographic change – population growth (state level)

These variables have default values for the base model but the interface allows the user to alter these variables to enable scenario analysis. As an example, the user could increase the assumed rate of rent price growth by state region into the future and annual tables could be outputted at a regional or aggregated level for rent stress providing the base results and simulated results. Using the AURIN Portal’s mapping facilities these results can be mapped and analysed.

With an interface providing detailed tabled small area outputs for the following variables for both the base world, alternative base worlds, scenarios and the difference between base and scenario (winners and losers):

  • Regional level housing stress rates – mortgage/rental/total for 2011 and out to the year 2027
  • Regional level poverty rates projected to 2027
  • Impact of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) on rent stress rates and impacts of CRA policy/levels for Australia’s regions over the future years
  • Estimates of total housing demand by small area level to 2027. This data can be compared with an associated data set that provides the current level of building approvals
  • Affordability ratios at a small area level (house price to income) to 2027
  • Impact of interest rate changes on mortgage stress rates at a regional and small area level
  • Impacts of demographic changes on household demand and housing stress levels

Housemod provides the user with both a set of base results and the ability to develop alternative results by simulating changes to key variables in the housing market such as rents and house prices but also policy variables such as CRA and interest rates. Housemod is a static microsimulation model which means that the results relate to the impact of change for the ‘day after’. There is no dynamic or behavioural element to the model so the model does not attempt to model changes to economic behavior. The projections into the future are largely based on ABS population projections for each region and are not derived by NATSEM.

Housemod generates small areas estimates for housing stress, poverty, first home buyer shares and a range of other housing related variables by using a spatial microsimulation technique for deriving small area estimates. The methodology brings together ABS survey data and benchmarks this survey data for each region of Australia using small area ABS Census data.


  • Online microsimulation tool for regional analysis of housing policy, demographics and economics in Australia
  • Online data for housing summary variables such as housing stress, housing demand, building approvals, poverty rates and other important housing related variables
  • Online projections capability for housing demand, housing stress and other housing information out to 2027 at regional level
  • Online comparison of impacts on households from policy change such as interest rates changes and Commonwealth Rent Assistance policies


Ben Phillips

Project Leader (Main Contact)

Dr Luc Small

eResearch Analyst

Jake Farrell

Software Engineer