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The Big Bubble: Will the Australian housing crisis ever end?

  • The Old Rum Store  2-10 Kensington Street Chippendale, NSW, 2008 Australia (map)

An Event Presented By Outside the Square

For the better part of a decade, some commentators have warned that we are living in a real estate bubble that will inevitably and—very shortly—burst. But as housing prices continue to soar and wages stagger behind inflation, others argue that the historical upward trend in house prices will prevail.


Speakers: Sociologist Associate Prof. Melinda Cooper, Sociology, Urban Planner Prof. Peter Phibbs, Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning and young economist Eliza Owen, Commercial Research Analysis, CoreLogic


Ticketed Event $15-$25

Includes catering by Eastside Grill.  

Register here 


Outside the Square

Festival of Dangerous Ideas meets Q&A, held off campus at the Old Rum Store a five minute stroll from Central, in Chippendales Creative Precinct- where contemporary issues are unpacked by our sharpest academics and graduate experts in front of a live audience who use their phones to comment and ask question. There’s drink. There’s fancy food. It’s fun.  


Professor Peter Phibbs


In my day job I teach students who want to be urban planners. I am also Director of a Research Trust at the University established as the result of a generous donation. My current passion is to improve the level of debate about housing affordability in Australia—I spend a lot of time in the media talking about the issue. I recently reflected that I spent the first half of my academic career building evidence to assist the development of housing policy in Australia and the second half of my career researching why politicians do not seem all that interested in evidence or in making housing more affordable. 


Associate Professor Melinda Cooper

I am interested in why house prices are going up and up and wages are going nowhere. And what this has to do with the return of extended family living and the boom in granny flats. The technical terms for this is "financialization." But as a sociologist I am trained to see what this means on the ground—homelessness, soaring rents, young people living at home much longer. Sydney is the perfect real-world experiment for understanding how financialization affects housing. Melinda is a graduate of The University of Sydney (BA 2006; BA (Hons) 2007)


Eliza Owen

I am a property market analyst who specialises in construction, commercial real estate and housing affordability. I fell into my career around the start of the most recent Sydney housing upswing (2013), and as I watched values rise I became fascinated with understanding why home ownership was slipping away from more and more Australians. My work involves taking complex ideas in economics and trying to explain them so that everyone can keep up with the debate. My idea of a perfect Sunday is a stroll around one of Sydney's beautiful water-side walks, then returning to my crappy rental to read through the explanatory notes section of the ABS website until it's dark outside. Eliza is a graduate of The University of Sydney (BEc 2013; BEc (Hons) 2015)


Earlier Event: September 12
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Later Event: September 13
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