Living close to a Tube or train station is a necessity for many Londoners who want a quick and convenient commute to work - and buyers pay a premium for the privilege.
Homes that are 500 metres from a station cost on average 7.2 per cent (typically £20,300) more than otherwise identical properties 1,500 metres away, according to research by the Nationwide building society.
Traditionally, living close, but not too close, to a station has been the preferred option because station neighbourhoods have had certain downsides: scruffy B&Bs, noisy bars, fast-food outlets, itinerants and the hustle and bustle of travellers.
However, more affordable homes are being built around (and above) transport hubs, which is likely to bury the stigma of living on the wrong side of the tracks.
'Living close, but not too close, to a station has been the preferred option in the past'
Redevelopment of several mainline stations is already making a difference by upgrading "public realm" space and adding residential to the usual mix of shops and offices. At Paddington, the once closed-off canal basin has been opened up and linked via pedestrian routes and footbridges to the station. The result is a convivial urban quarter of waterside apartments, restaurants and business barges.
Merchant Square is the final piece of regeneration at the 80-acre complex, being built on land previously earmarked for a new medical campus, part of nearby St Mary's Hospital, which was abandoned after spiralling costs.
Waterline House is one of six modern-design buildings, a marble and-glass tower with 196 apartments plus ground-floor commercial space facing the canal. One endorsement of the scheme has come from the Crown Estate, which has bought a bundle of 60 flats in a separate core of the building as a rental investment.
Other flats (being marketed as the Grand Union Apartments) are for sale on a shared-ownership basis through the Octavia housing association. The minimum 25 per cent share costs £103,125 (£412,500 for the full market price). Call 0845 130 1422.
Coming later to Merchant Square is The Blade, a residential skyscraper, which will be the tallest building in Westminster borough. King's Cross, Euston, Victoria, Waterloo, London Bridge and Cannon Street are also in line for redevelopment.
Affordable homes account for 834 of the total 1,946 properties to be built at King's Cross Central, where a new district is taking shape around Europe's largest transport hub: 20 new streets, 10 landscaped squares, 25 office buildings, 500,000sq ft of retail premises plus a school, community and leisure facilities.
The first residential buildings - 284 homes for shared ownership and rent, due for completion in 2012 - overlook Regent's Canal and will be adjacent to parks and public spaces that collectively form a series of "home zones". One Housing Group, which is allocating the homes, says Camden borough residents and key workers have priority, though more homes open to a wider pool of people will follow. To register, visit onehousinggroup.co.uk.
Origin Group, formerly the St Pancras Housing Association, has a presence in this area, notably a scheme at Regent's Place, a new office and residential complex in Euston Road designed by architect Terry Farrell, where there are 60 flats for rent to key workers. Call 020 7209 9300. The location borders Regent's Park and sits alongside two distinctive listed buildings: Sir John Soane's Holy Trinity Church and the White House Hotel, formerly art deco mansion flats.
Up the road, close to Mornington Crescent Tube station, is 100 Park Village East, a scheme of 22 apartments built by the Notting Hill Housing Group. The shimmering circular building includes penthouse-style flats with roof terraces. Prices from £350,000. Call Savills on 020 7380 0085.