hydro houses

PHOTO: This Turangi ‘hydro house’ recently sold for nearly $200,000 more than the vendor paid for it in 2017.

One former ‘hydro house’ in Turangi has sold for $330,000 – a price increase of over 137% since it was last sold for $139,000 in early 2017, with local real estate agents crying out for more listings given unrelenting demand for houses.

The four-bedroom home is typical of those built for employees working on the Tongariro hydro-power scheme in the 1960s and 1970s. Arguably, adding to its charm is the fact that the 85m2 home on a 741m2 corner site has changed little.

“Since it was sold by the Ministry of Works in the early 1980s for just over $30,000, only two families have owned it. Both have enjoyed it as a bach and have kept it pretty much the same. It’s great a young couple has now secured it as a home after missing out on a lot of other places in Turangi recently,” says Patrick Barry, a local Century 21 agent who listed and sold the property.

Within one week of the home going on the market, four offers were presented to the Auckland-based vendors who were blown away by the instant interest and the offers given they’d asked for ‘enquiries over $290,000’.

Mr Barry says the healthy sale price represents the significant lift Turangi real estate has had over the past three or four years, with the 3,000-person town, and surrounding area, only getting more popular.

Dubbed the ‘Trout Fishing Capital Of The World’, Turangi is known for the nearby skiing, hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and boating – helped by its proximity to Lake Taupo, Mount Ruapehu, and of course the famous Tongariro River running right past. The Sky Waka gondola up Whakapapa is also a welcomed visitor attraction.

Local Century 21 franchise owner, Wai Johnson, says as Taupo has got more expensive, many permanent residents and holidaymakers are opting for Turangi instead. What’s more, its locality is key, with ongoing Waikato Expressway improvements and Transmission Gully under construction set to make the Central North Island even closer to Auckland and Wellington.

Ms Johnson says what also appeals to many is the well-planned nature of the former hydro-electricity town. It has some attractive tree-lined curving streets and cul-de-sacs, plenty of community amenities, and is quiet given it is well separated from SH1.

“Turangi’s popularity is on the rise. In fact, over winter we were throwing in New Zealand travel vouchers, encouraging homeowners to sell given all the buyers on our books. First home-buyers are keen to make the most of record-low interest rates, while increasing rents in Turangi are attracting property investors who want a higher return than what the bank can offer them,” she says.

Owner of Century 21 New Zealand, Derryn Mayne, says key to Century 21 Premier’s ongoing success in Turangi has been the franchise’s very strong connect with locals and a proven commitment of giving back to the community.

This year, due to Covid-19, the Turangi real estate agency had to cancel its annual charity evening and Easter auction. Last year’s proceeds from its fundraising efforts went to the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter. St John Youth and the local Coastguard have been previous recipients.

Century 21 has a long and successful history in Turangi and oversees a large property management portfolio. In recent years, the office and agents have won many national and Australasian awards, and it was Century 21 New Zealand in early 2017 that made the nationwide headline: ‘Turangi – the town to watch!’

“Century 21’s Turangi team continues to achieve some amazing results. However, like so many other parts of the country, agents are short on stock but big on buyers! That’s why we’re encouraging home and bach owners to consider listing this spring. Demand is strong and prices are still holding up really well, despite wider economic uncertainty,” says Derryn Mayne.



Wai Johnson – Franchise owner, Century 21 Premier (Turangi) – (07) 386-7796

Derryn Mayne – Owner of Century 21 New Zealand – (021) 399-431