But two new shared-ownership schemes will allow young buyers to ascend the property ladder with a W-something postcode at a fraction, literally, of the price.
The Greenhauses, Shepherd's Bush
The Greenhauses in Sulgrave Gardens are close to Shepherd's Bush. Octavia Living has 13 shared-ownership homes for sale which use energy-efficient "passivhaus" technology to make them close to carbon neutral.
Reflecting high house prices in the area, the properties are being sold in 25 per cent shares, starting at £82,500 for a quarter share in a one-bedroom flat with a full value of £330,000.
Two-bedroom flats start at £110,625 (full price: £442,500). There are three bedroom apartments priced at £140,000 (with a full price of £560,000) and two-bedroom mews houses for £180,000 (full price: £720,000).
The homes will launch in late summer 2013 and information is available via Octavia Living (octavialiving.org.uk; 020 8354 5500). For more details and to register your interest, visit thegreenhauses.co.uk. This is a small-scale scheme with a total of just 30 homes (the remainder are being sold privately or rented) and will be completed in August 2013.
Green credentials will keep heating bills to a minimum. "We are told that they will be 90 per cent lower than an average fuel bill," said Sue Dance, head of sales and marketing at Octavia.
Each property is super-insulated and triple glazed, with solar panels to provide hot water. There are no radiators — instead heat comes through grilles in the skirting boards and a ventilation system allows fresh air into the properties without the need to open windows, a feature particularly popular with hay fever sufferers.
The development is in a quiet and tree-lined street, but it is within half a mile of three Zone 2 Tube stations. Shepherd's Bush station is close by and Central line services take 12 minutes to Oxford Circus and 21 minutes to Bank. Goldhawk Road and Shepherd's Bush Market stations have Hammersmith & City line services.
Money saved on fuel could happily be spent at Westfield, Shepherd's Bush Market, or the independent shops and cafés of Brook Green, which also has a great selection of restaurants.
"It is very much the best of both worlds," said Dance. "Turn left and you are in Brook Green, or turn right and you are at Shepherd's Bush." For open space there is Shepherd's Bush Common.
For those who prefer their green space not ringed by traffic, the small but perfectly formed Brook Green is a 10-minute walk away. Live entertainment is provided at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire and the Bush Theatre.
Acton Gardens, South Acton
Meanwhile, there is another west London shared-ownership opportunity, on a larger scale, three miles further west, where housing association L&Q (lqgroup.org.uk; 0844 406 9800) has an initial tranche of 17 shared-ownership homes at Acton Gardens (actongardens.co.uk; 020 8993 6923).
The homes are part of a £579 million, 2,350-home development being built to replace the South Acton Estate near South Acton Tube station.
Over the next 12 years, 230 shared ownership properties will be sold. One-bedroom flats in this first phase start at £98,000 (for a 35 per cent share of a home with a value of £280,000). Two-bedroom flats are from £109,500 (for a 30 per cent share of a £365,000 property). There is also a three-bedroom flat at £135,000 (30 per cent of £450,000). The flats will be ready in August 2013.
The development is in Zone 3 and 200 yards from South Acton Overground station, with services to Euston in just over half an hour.
It is less than a mile from Acton Town Tube station on the Piccadilly and District lines, with trains to central London in less than half an hour. Liz Talbot, marketing co-ordinator at L&Q, says in 2018 Acton will be part of the Crossrail line, which will mean direct trains to Heathrow, the West End and the City.
Each apartment has a balcony or patio and views over South Acton Park. South Acton has a reasonable selection of shops, while Chiswick is less than a mile away.
"A key selling point is the sheer amount of open space," said Talbot. "The specification of the flats is also high, it has great travel connections, and as it is within a regeneration area it will continue to improve."