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Inner City Unit Mortgage

How much can you borrow?

  • First home buyer: 95% of the property value (restrictions apply).
  • Investor: 95% of the property value.
  • Guarantor loans: Borrow up to 100% with select lenders only.
  • Low doc: 80% of the property value.
  • Discounts: Competitive professional package and basic loan discounts are available.

Note: Most lenders restrict the amount you can borrow quite significantly, often to 80% or less of the property value. In fact, several lenders will not lend to first home buyers at all!

Please enquire online or call us on 1300 889 743 to discuss your purchase with one of our specialist mortgage brokers.

What is considered to be an inner city apartment?

Inner city apartments are generally defined by the banks as any unit in a block located in a particular postcode range, generally within the CBD of capital cities. They can often be referred to as high density units or CBD units and tend to have lifts, balconies and sought after views.

Different banks have different definition of what an inner city unit is so different lending policies will apply. In some cases, a block of units must have at least 4 floors or 35 units in the complex to be defined as inner city apartments.

If the unit you are buying is defined by a bank as an inner city apartment then they may restrict the amount of money that you can borrow.

Which postcodes are considered to be 'high density'?

These vary from lender to lender, however as a general rule, the following postcodes are considered to be a high risk and are assessed by lenders under their inner city policy:

NSW Postcodes: 2000, 2001, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2017, 2077, 2138, 2140, 2205.

NSW Suburbs: Sydney, Sydney South, Darling Harbour, Dawes Point, Haymarket, Millers Point, The Rocks, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Taylor Square, Elizabeth Bay, Kings Cross, Potts Point, Rushcutters Bay, Woolloomooloo, Waterloo, Zetland, Asquith, Hornsby, Hornsby Heights, Waitara, Concord West, Liberty Grove, Rhodes, Homebush, Homebush South, Homebush West, Arncliffe, Turrella and Wolli Creek.

VIC Postcodes: 3000, 3001, 3004, 3005, 3006 & 3008.

VIC Suburbs: Melbourne, World Trade Centre, Southbank and Docklands.

QLD Postcodes: 4000, 4001, 4002, 4003 & 4004.

QLD Suburbs: Brisbane, Petrie Terrace, Spring Hill, City East, Wintergarden & New Farm (Note that many Gold Coast Apartments are considered high density by lenders even though they are technically not in the inner city of a capital city).

SA Postcodes: 5000, 5001 & 5005.

SA Suburbs: Adelaide City, West Campus, Halifax Street, Hutt Street, Rundle Mall, Station Arcade, Sturt Street & The University Of Adelaide.

WA Postcodes: 6000, 6001, 6003, 6004, 6005.

WA Suburbs: Perth, Highgate, Northbridge, East Perth, Kings Park & West Perth.

TAS Postcodes: 7000.

TAS Suburbs: Glebe, Hobart, Mount Stuart, North Hobart, Queens Domain & West Hobart.

NT Postcodes: 800.

NT Suburbs: Darwin.

There are no locations considered to be high density in the ACT.

Note that there are variations on these postcodes between different banks.

Please call us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online and one of our mortgage brokers can let you know what restrictions apply for your unit.

Why are the banks so conservative?

There have been periods when the CBDs of several Australian cities were flooded with cheap units. As a result of new developments being constructed, inner city apartments tend to fluctuate in price more often than other types of properties as supply and demand change. Because of these price fluctuations, banks see financing high density units as a higher risk.

Tips for buying an inner city apartment

When you are buying a unit that is close to or in the CBD there is more to consider than when buying a house in the suburbs. We’ve helped countless people to finance the purchase of their high rise unit and as a result we’ve learned a lot about the possible pitfalls.

Being built out

Be careful to make sure the property will not be built out soon, meaning that a new building will soon block your views. Call your local council and they can tell you what development applications are in place in the area.


Ideally try to buy a unit that is greater than 50m² for the internal area excluding balconies and car spaces. If it is more than 40m² but less than 50m² we can still help you to borrow up to 95% however the lenders are more conservative. If you are buying a unit that is less than 40m² then you may be limited to a mortgage of 80% of the property value.

Strata fees

Lifts, pools and gyms add a lot to the strata fees. In particular, when a lift needs to be replaced it can cost several hundred thousand dollars.

We find that properties with amenities such as pools often don’t receive a better rent income, and that the people who live there often don’t use the amenities anyway! For this reason, units in these blocks may have a lower net rent return than other nearby units.

Block size & age

Smaller blocks tend to be better from an investment point of view. This is because there are less strata issues and they have a higher land value as a proportion of total unit value.

Blocks of units that are less than five years old tend to have lower capital growth and brand new units are sometimes sold above market value.

Do some research on the builder if you are buying in a new block as building defects are common and can be very costly.

Nearby developments

If a new development is built right next door to your unit then there will often be 100 + units for sale that could compete with yours in the event that you wanted to sell.

This can work in your favour when you are buying but it can make it near impossible to sell during these times. So please keep in mind that the inner city market tends to fluctuate more than most property markets.

Do you need a mortgage?

Our mortgage brokers are experts in financing the purchase of high rise apartments in the CBD.

  • We know the lending policies of over 30 lenders
  • We have specialist knowledge as our mortgage brokers come from the credit departments of major banks!
  • Most of our services are free
  • Help nationwide

Please call us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online and we can help you to work out how much you can borrow and which lenders you qualify with.

  • Cooper

    Do the banks lend to the inner city units or they’ve certain restrictions on lending there?

  • Hi Cooper,

    Banks do lend for inner city apartments, but the problem is that their prices can fluctuate more than other property types. There have been moments when there were so many units on sale that all their prices dropped. This is seen by lenders as a big risk since they could make a loss by lending you the money to buy these units.

    Banks usually have certain postcodes and suburbs that are considered to be high density and have a higher risk. Having said that all lenders have their own policies regarding inner city units and there are lenders who will approve your home loan if you can meet their requirements.

  • pm

    I need a loan for an apartment in surfers paradise. I have full time job 33 k in bank and looking for a 1 bed 250k to 290k. Cannot use combank anz or national. Have clear credit rating. Is it possible?? Considering post code restrictions.. more than 10 units in building..and only 10 percent deposit. First home buyer here.

  • Hi pm,
    The Gold Coast is seen as a high risk area by many lenders but some can consider loans up to 95% of the property value. If the property is 40m2 internal area (ideally >50m2) and then we can lend 90% or 95%.
    Your income may not be enough for the loan size, can you do extra hours?
    Hope that helps.

  • pm

    Yes was looking at <50m2 income is 52k per year plus approx 20k in overtime. I have 90 percent LVR. Is buying in surfers highrise going to be possible?

  • We’d need to know internal area in m2, balcony in m2, car space in m2 and is it a studio OR a 1br (is there a wall between the living and bedroom areas)? If you have the address also let us know.
    Is there a reason you don’t want to apply with NAB, ANZ or CBA?

  • pm

    O.k… have looked at a few most have seperate areas with walls although i wouldnt mind a studio with a view. I have filled out the form and will discuss with one of your brokers. Thanks

  • No problem. If you find one >50m2 then we’re very likely to get you an approval for the amount you need. Best of luck buddy