House and mattress space is very valued. Discount rates for furnishings, especially mattresses, have significantly risen over the past four years, seemingly at the expense of efficiency and affordability in the apartment market.

The increased demand for closets and spare bedrooms, combined with changing demographics – with an increasing proportion of our population over the age of 50 – are fueling this trend.

A bedroom in the suburbs. Photo: David Walsh

Affordability has become a major issue. Although the amenity of a home is not necessarily an important consideration, certain forms of housing may be more affordable than others. This is significant to a burgeoning category of inner city apartments: prefabricated self-contained duplex units.

Prefabricated apartment construction has so far been limited to a few small towns, but will continue to play a significant role as residential housing needs continue to grow in Sydney and Melbourne.

Refurbished furniture, as well as second-hand furniture, has also experienced a strong resurgence in recent years. The current situation of greater wealth comes with greater accessibility to larger appliances and a greater focus on materials and maintenance.

Supply has outpaced demand. Photo: David Walsh

The higher cost of materials and maintenance (maintaining appliances to their ideal condition versus performance) has increased both the maximum and average prices of unbuilt apartments in Sydney and Melbourne. This imbalance is also seen in the bedroom and sofa categories.