property personalised
House of reclusive Tan sisters sold for $2.23 mil
By Timothy Tay | March 3, 2018
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At Knight Frank’s auction on Feb 27, the main attraction was an abandoned house that was once occupied by two reclusive sisters, Pearl and Ruby Tan.

They shot to fame posthumously when their skeletal remains were found in their home at 17 Jalan Batai, located off Upper Thomson Road on two separate occasions.

The remains of one was found in the toilet in 2006 by an officer from the National Environment Agency checking for mosquito breeding, and remains of the other in a guest room in 2015 by a contractor engaged by the Building and Construction Authority to clear debris.

The skeletal remains of the sisters were found in the old house (Picture: Samuel Issac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

As the cause of death remains a mystery and there is no known will or legal claimants to the property, it came under the purview of the Public Trustee’s Office, the administrator for the estates of deceased persons.

Because of its history, the house on Jalan Batai drew a crowd of more than 100 at the auction held in Amara Singapore.

The opening price was $1.7 million ($988 psf), with the first bid at $1.72 million. Twelve minutes and 21 bids later, the property was sold under the hammer for $2.23 million ($1,297 psf) to Goh Tee Kia, chairman of GC Group of Companies, a local contractor specialising in infrastructure and civil construction projects.

The 1,720 sq ft, single story terrace house was sold at auction for $2.23 million ($1,297 psf)

Goh said he paid $500,000 more than he had expected for the house, which sits on a freehold site of 1,720 sq ft. The property can be redeveloped into a 2½-storey house, pending approvals.

There were five active bidders initially, but some withdrew as bids neared $2 million. One of them was Bruce Lye of SRI Developments, who said he withdrew at $1.88 million.

Based on the final purchase price of $2.23 million, Goh’s breakeven cost is estimated to be $3.15 million, after taking into account construction cost of between $800,000 and $1 million.

Goh intends to hold the property for the long term. Although not superstitious, he will not be moving in after redeveloping the property but will lease it out instead. “I own many other properties already,” he says.

This article appeared in the EdgeProp Pullout, Issue 820 (March 5, 2018)

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