ONE of West London's oldest established family-owned estate agencies has just brokered a £21 million deal.

Dick Ladwa, principal of Churchill Estate Agents in Acton, found two newly built townhouses in Kensington for the household of a leading European industrialist. One was on the market for £15.5 million and the other, three doors away, was bought for £5.5 million "In essence the sale was not too dissimilar to selling properites in Acton. The same principles applied but the stakes were undeniably higher," said the agent.

The deal came at a time when most city agents are reporting heightened interest at the top end of the market. A recent survey by the Halifax highlighted the rapid increase in the sales of million pound properties to the extent that demand has begun to outstrip supply.

"More and more international investors are turning to professional property hunters to hand pick the finest properties," observed Dick Ladwa this week. "We are constantly approached by clients who specify their criteria.

"On the back of the £21 million deal we have just been instructed to look for four houses for another European businessman with a total value £20-£25 million.

"The market at that level is being driven by investors from overseas."