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Property in one of the most exclusive regions of the US selling well

In Southampton, New York, part of the posh Hamptons region on Long Island which is frequented by the rich and famous, some of the most expensive property in the US has sold recently.

The area's beach houses which are popular with actors and politians, sell for tens of millions of dollars. Last year the six-acre oceanfront estate on Gin Lane sold for $60 million. The main house has eight bedrooms and the estate includes 450 feet of beachfront, a tennis courts and a separate guest house.

But real estate professionals believe that 2009 might not be so kind. Property prices have fallen by at least 14% in the last three months of 2008 and more price falls are expected.

The number of Hamptons homes sold for more than $5 million dropped 30% last year. Of the ten most expensive properties sold last year, seven closed before the September collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers.

But the charms of the areas are expected to see it weather the storm. Property owners include fashion designer Vera Wang, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and actor Richard Gere. However, Gere has just put his property in Water Mill up for sale for $8.8 million. It has seven bedrooms, swimming pool, guest house and artists studio.

According to George Simpson, owner of the real estate data company Suffolk Research Service, the area will see price drops but not as much as elsewhere.

Meanwhile the controversial Dragon's Head, a massive ocean front estate in Southampton Village, is expected to be demolished after the village's Architectural Review Board decided there is nothing of historical value worth saving.

Owner Calvin Klein, the designer, wants to build a new stucco and steel mansion. It was built in 1924 by Henry Francis du Pont but has been extensively re-modelled over the years and turned into a faux Normand castle in the 1980s. It was once described as 'Disneyland on LSD'.