CBD and Harbour

CBD and Harbour

Village characteristics

  • The CBD and Harbour village covers the area from Bathurst Street in the south to Sydney Harbour and The Rocks in the north, and from Hyde Park, The Domain and the Royal Botanic Garden in the east to Darling Harbour in the west. It includes the suburbs of Sydney, Millers Point, Dawes Point and The Rocks.
  • The village is the main commercial centre of the City of Sydney local area and is dominated by high-rise office buildings alongside a mixture of retail, visitor and entertainment uses.

Total figures

In 2017, in the village area there were:

  • 1,101 buildings
  • 9,551 business establishments employing workers
  • 274,100 workers
  • 10,327,371m² of internal floor area surveyed
  • 5,492 residential dwellings.


Between 2012 and 2017 there were 1,019 additional businesses representing an increase of 11.9%. The top 6 sectors by number of businesses:

City-based industry sector Businesses
Professional and business services 2,271
Finance and financial services 1,611
Retail and personal services 1,261
Food and drink 1,050
Creative industries 460

In 2017 the sector with the largest growth was finance and financial services, which increased by 347 businesses (27.5% increase) in the past 5 years.

Almost half of all workers in the village were employed in large (200+ workers) businesses, which accounted for 2.1% of village businesses.

Business size % of total village businesses % of total village workers
Small (1–19 workers) 78.1% 17.7%
Medium (20–199 workers) 19.8% 35.4%
Large (200+ workers) 2.1% 46.9%


There were 274,100 workers a 20.8% increase from 2012. The top 6 sectors by number of workers:

City-based industry sector Worker
Finance and financial services 101,261
Professional and business services 68,839
ICT 16,085
Property development and operation 14,260
Tourist, cultural and leisure 12,387

Since the 2012 survey, the sector with the largest growth in worker numbers was finance and financial services, which grew by 15,072 workers (17.5% increase). This was followed by professional and business services, which grew by 14,593 workers (26.9% increase) and property development and operation, which grew by 8,629 workers (153.2% increase). The sector with the largest decline in worker numbers was food and drink, with a decrease of 1,055 workers (11.2% decrease).

Floor area

In 2017 the business floor area grew by an additional 339,994m² (5.6% increase) to 6,437,763m² and accounted for 62.3% of total internal floor area in the village. The top 6 sectors by total business floor area:

City-based industry sector Floor area (m²)
Finance and financial services 1,491,402
Professional and business services 1,128,979
Tourist, cultural and leisure 1,128,160
Transport and logistics 413,651
Creative industries 344,127

Significant growth sectors in the village by business floor area were property development and operation, which grew by 110,291m² (82.2% increase) followed by professional and business services, which grew by 70,336m² (6.6% increase). This was followed by ICT, which grew by 64,613 m² (29.4% increase) and tourist, culture and leisure, which grew by 58,431m² (5.5% increase). Negative growth sectors included finance and financial services, which declined by 25,905m² (1.7% decrease) and retail and personal services, which declined by 14,592m² (4.7% decrease) in the past 5 years.

Work space ratio

Work space ratios are calculated by dividing the total internal area (m²) by the total number of employees. The average work space ratio for all industry sectors fell from 26.9m² per worker in 2012 to 23.5m² per worker in 2017. The most intensive use of work space occurred in the finance and financial services sector with 14.7m² for every worker, down from 17.6m² per worker in 2012.

Visitor accommodation

In 2017 there were 9,636 hotel rooms (1.8% increase), 1,550 serviced apartments (4.0% increase) and 1,009 backpacker beds (26.9% increase).


  • Housing, pipeline development and forecasts can be found on the City Monitors page.
  • For information on the classifications for city-based industry sectors and space use divisions, please see the floor space and employment survey page.

Last updated: Tuesday, 2 April 2019