In December the Government launches a new era of public housing with promises of homes funded by right-to-buy sales. This, along with the regeneration of former council estates, is bringing thousands of lower-priced shared-ownership and private properties on to the market for those desperate to get on the ladder.
In tandem with this, public sector land and buildings are being released for affordable homes. Mayor of London Boris Johnson is using new powers to unlock sites for 3,500 new homes across the capital.
Locations include Trenchard House, a former Metropolitan Police accommodation block in Soho, where 68 apartments are being created, and former Greenwich District Hospital, a 645-home complex that will be one of London's greenest addresses.
Big and small housing schemes in inner and outer London are widening the choice for first-time buyers. Cheaper mortgages are set to become more accessible, too, now that the Government has put in place a deposit indemnity scheme. Homes are ready to move into or can be bought "off-plan", allowing you time to prepare your move from the rental sector.
Central Park, a new development bordering Blackheath and Greenwich, is a council estate transformation in a part of London where regeneration is making a difference. The first phase of 328 homes in jazzy-looking apartment blocks lining a new urban park will be complete next spring.
The homes, including three-bedroom family houses, are being built to high energy-efficiency standards in order to reduce fuel bills and service charges. A district heating system will supply heating and hot water to all homes, while electricity generated from solar energy will power lifts and communal lighting. To register, call 020 7089 3917 or visit centralparkliving.co.uk.
Family Mosaic housing association is selling shared-ownership flats at a nearby development called One SE8, a former Thames Water site where low-rise blocks are clustered around courtyards.
Brooklyn, the final phase, has apartments priced from £195,000 (£68,250 for a 35 per cent share). The scheme, moments from Deptford Bridge DLR, is a 12-minute train ride away from Canary Wharf. To register, call 020 7089 1315 or visit familymosaicsales.co.uk.
London boasts two of Europe's largest regeneration schemes
One is Barking Riverside, where London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, a quango, has unveiled the first phase of 10,800 new homes, part of a £3.5 billion project that includes new schools, leisure facilities and DLR stations.
The masterplan for the 350-acre site envisages eight new neighbourhoods, or "character areas", divided by green corridors — a small town with 25,000 residents. About 140 acres will be open space. Faced with a raw industrial landscape of derelict factories and freight depots, planners are insisting on "inspired architecture" to transform the location, with eyesores "designed out" by creative landscaping.
Meadowland, the first of these residential hubs, has contemporary design triple-glazed houses with roof terraces and duplex apartments set around a garden square. Prices from £265,000. Call Spicer McColl on 0845 337 5759.
City East, occupying another chunk of land at Barking Riverside, has 350 homes, due for completion next year. Prices start at £139,995 for one-bedroom apartments and rise to £299,995 for three-bedroom mid-terrace houses. Call the sales suite on 020 8594 9709.
New Hendon Village, near Colindale Tube station, is another master-planned community, with 3,000 homes plus shops, a library and health centre on land owned by Barnet council. Homes are being built in crescents overlooking parkland and ponds. Prices from £190,000. Call Genesis on 0800 954 5497.
Fashionable canalside living at an affordable price
This is the message being pushed by London & Quadrant housing association at Haggerston West and Kingsland estates in Hackney. The old estates facing each other across the Regent's Canal are being replaced with 761 new homes. Completions from summer, 2012. Visit lqgroup.org.uk.
Regeneration will improve the public realm between the estates and upgrade run-down areas either side of the canal, according to Brendon Kilpatrick of PRP Architects. This part of Hackney, close to Dalston and London Fields, is gentrifying fast.
The same sort of initiative is underway at the former Packington Estate in Islington, which borders the canal. Hyde Housing association is creating a complete new neighbourhood and has released the first phase, called The Arc, with 81 apartments. Prices from £335,000. Call Chesterton Humberts on 020 7288 0330. Shared-ownership flats will be on offer next year. Visit packingtonsquare.com.