SINGAPORE -The house that former China tour guide Yang Yin nearly cheated from a rich Singaporean widow is up for sale again at a lower price of $25 million, or about $785 per square foot on land area.

The property was put up for sale by real estate consulting firm Edmund Tie on Thursday (Jan 7), nearly three years after the previous tender in February 2018.

Madam Chung Khin Chun’s bungalow at Gerald Crescent sits on a 31,882 sq ft plot of land – about the size of a half a football field. It has a 999-year lease that began in 1879.

The 2018 sale by estate agency Savills Singapore was unsuccessful as neither of the two bids met the expected price of $35 million, or $1,100 per square foot on land area.

Madam Chung’s niece and guardian Hedy Mok, 67, told The Straits Times then that she had holding power to wait so she did not sell the house.

Madam Chung, 94, had been embroiled in a bitter, high-profile dispute with Yang over her assets, including the property.

Acting as the retired physiotherapist’s tour guide when she visited China in 2008, Yang shifted into her bungalow a year later, brought his family to Singapore and got the widow to make a will that allowed him to inherit everything.

Yang’s crimes surfaced in September 2014 after a seven hour stand off between the widow and his wife.

He pleaded guilty in August 2016 to misappropriating $1.1 million from Madam Chung, and falsifying receipts for a sham company to stay here and obtain permanent residency. He was sentenced to 11 years and two months in jail.

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When contacted, Madam Mok said her aunt has been living with her at her semi-detached house in East Coast for the past six years.

“She is comfortable and happy, and has come to regard my house as her home. She is aware that the bungalow is being put up for sale again,” added Madam Mok, who would not comment on the guide price of the house or the proceeds.

Property experts attributed the lower asking price of $25 million this year to several differences between 2018 and the fourth quarter of last year.

Mr Nicholas Mak, ERA Realty’s head of research and consultancy, said the housing market in the first quarter of 2018 was “quite bullish”, but housing prices fell after cooling measures were introduced in July that year.

And while landed property prices rose by 11 per cent from the start of 2018 to end-2020, the economic climate today is still weaker due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.

Similarly, Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive of International Property Advisor, said the auction in 2018 was probably priced for a strong economy.

“Given the current limits on landed property development, relatively high development charges payable to the authorities, coupled with the uncertain economic outlook, I believe this $25 million…is a reasonable price,” said Mr Ku.

Ms Swee Shou Fern, executive director of investment advisory at Edmund Tie, added that the Gerald Crescent property “presents an exceptional opportunity for immediate redevelopment”.

“Besides residential developers who will be keen to subdivide the site into multiple landed homes, we also expect interest from high-net-worth and multi-generational families looking to buy for their own stay,” she said.

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Tender for the land near Yio Chu Kang Road will close on Feb 9 at 3pm.



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