A furnished house that was built more than 50 years ago but has never been lived in has been sold at auction.

The three-bedroom home in Te Puke was built in 1959 by previous owner Peter Welch and another builder. Welch died this year and his property, which was valued at $363,000, was sold last week.

The trustee of his estate, who spoke on the condition he wasn't named, confirmed the property had never been lived in. He said Welch served in the Royal Navy during World War II and settled in the Bay of Plenty.

"He had been here a little while and his mother and sister were still in England," the trustee said. "He built the house on the understanding they would come to New Zealand but they never came.

"The sister came to visit once but she never lived here."

Welch subdivided the original property many years ago and lived in a small house on the neighbouring section.

The trustee knew of only one time when people stayed in the house. "One New Year's Eve the neighbours had a house full of people and he let a couple of them sleep the night."

The house and its contents are in pristine condition, including the handmade parquet flooring and stainless-steel kitchen bench.

To the left of the entrance is a spacious lounge with open fireplace. Textured wallpaper projects off the walls and it still has its original furniture.

Inside the dining room is a table and chair set, which has never been used.

Adjacent is an old radio and record player, about the size of a filing cabinet, complete with about a dozen records from the era.

The 3m stainless-steel kitchen bench is without a scratch and the wooden drawers slide in and out effortlessly. Inside the cupboards are copper-bottomed pots with their original packaging stickers.

Along the hall, the bathroom has a shower with a colourful mosaic floor and separate toilet and bath units. Its only modern feature is a new showerhead.

The bedrooms have built-in dressing tables, with his and hers wardrobes on either side. Two single beds are in the house.

The new owner, who wanted her identity kept secret, hoped the new tenants - Christchurch residents seeking relief from the earthquake - would embrace the history within the house. "It is beautiful and a bit like you've stepped back in time," she said. "Some things need to be changed though, like the blue [exterior]. That might go, it doesn't really fit."