Snowy Hydro plans have injected new life into Riverina towns with a surge in real estate demand

Lorraine Wysman.
Lorraine Wysman.

RIVERINA’S real estate is in the midst of a sudden boom after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week announced a $2 billion expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme.

The proposal has already injected new life into tiny south east Riverina towns such as Talbingo, Cabramurra, Rosewood and Tooma – which had been dwindling into obscurity since the 1970’s. 

Rosewood licensed property manager Allyce Crofts revealed her agency had completely exhausted its housing listings in just a matter of days. 

She described plans for the hydro-electric expansion as a “new beginning” for the wider region. 

“It’s going to put a lot of petrol-stop towns on the map,” she said. 

“There’s been interest from investors and potential workers in acquiring properties and land. 

“This could be the revitalisation Rosewood and it’s neighbouring towns have been waiting for.” 

Construction of three new tunnels stretching 27km and new power stations are tipped to begin in 2018 and take between four to seven years to build. 

It is a project which Mr Turnbull claims will create 500 local jobs and “put the breaks on rising electricity prices”. 

Tumut agent Lorraine Wysman has sold nearly the same number of properties in Talbingo since Thursday than she normally would in an entire year. 

Ms Wysman, who is president of the local business chamber, said she had sold five properties in the village of 241 people since the announcement.

"I've got staff who live there and they can't believe it," she said.

"We had 10 properties and three blocks of land for sale, so it's really put a big chink in our listings.

"One particular property sold without an inspection, another chap came from Sydney on Saturday and bought, and went home again.

"We can't believe the number of phone calls.”

Of the 33 Talbingo for sale listings on Domain.com.au, nine are under offer.

Australia’s geographically highest town, Cabramurra, boasted a population in excess of 2000 during construction of the Snowy Hydro scheme in the fifties.

However, its population rapidly plummeted after work ceased – recording only 364 permanent residents in the last census. 

Wagga MP Daryl Maguire said the hydro expansion would be an iconic national project.

"It's a winner in every respect," he said.

"For every dollar invested there's a multiplier of 2.8 for the region. They're estimating up to 500 jobs could be created.

"If that's direct jobs you could easily triple the economic benefit throughout the region."