Wealthy property buyers are being offered a $500,000 incentive to buy mansions in Australia’s swankiest postcodes, heralding a refocus in lender strategy from courting the mass market to courting top-end buyers.

Confidential documents reveal that Bankwest, a subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), is planning to reduce mandatory deposits for mansions worth more than $5 million by up to half-a-million dollars, or raise the loan-to-value ratio from 50% to 60%.

Mortgage brokers claim other big lenders are offering similar incentives to high-net-worth borrowers, including lower deposits and rates, as they attempt to refocus their lending strategies to target higher margin business.

"They are attempting to focus on sophisticated investors that can bring them bigger business," observed Christopher Foster-Ramsay, principal at Foster Ramsay Finance.

Mortgage Choice believes that Bankwest could be market testing the special offer. If it proves successful, it could be used by other lenders in the group.

“We confirm changes to the maximum loan-to-value ratios for luxury properties,” noted a spokesperson from Bankwest. “It follows a review that confirmed a significant increase in the number of suburbs with a median price of over $1 million as a result of increased property prices in recent years.”

The spokesperson declined to confirm if similar incentives would be adopted by other CBA subsidiaries.

Bankwest’s new LVR reductions will be introduced to six categories for properties ranging from more than $1.5 million to more than $5 million. The largest reductions will be for properties worth more than $5 million in New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia.