£1m homes still for sale ­ but not a £70m one

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The Independent Online

The "For Sale" signs remain on Millionaires' Row. The upmarket estate agent Chesterton International said yesterday it had seen a sharp dip in sales of property worth more than £1m in London and the Home Counties.

A drop in demand for million-pound homes heralded the start of the slump in the property market at the end of the 1980s. But the company played down fears of a reversal in the relentless rise of house prices by pointing to the low level of interest rates, which was keeping the lower-end of the market buoyant.

Michael Holmes, chief executive of Chesterton International, said the new slowdown was probably the result of a reduction in the number of people using large City bonuses to buy property. The fall over the past two months is seen as particularly important because it came during the traditional high point of the year for house prices.

The company also warned that sales of homes between £300,000 and £1m had slowed during the past two months.

However, news of the slowdown has not reached everyone. Britain's most expensive new home, in Windlesham, Surrey, complete with 30 bedrooms and a cinema, was sold this summer for an estimated £70m.