Start your search in Zone 2, just beyond the congestion charge boundary, where it is still possible to find good-value pockets, some very much on the up. Areas falling into this catchment include Whitechapel, Shadwell, Kilburn, Finsbury Park, Dalston, Deptford, Bethnal Green, Bow, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Walworth, New Cross and Stockwell.
Most people are happy to walk to work if it takes no more than 30 minutes — quicker if jogging or on a Boris bike. You can get fit and save on commuting costs at the same time.
Several new schemes in fashionable parts of east London have been unveiled:
Dalston Square, Hackney
Roseberry Place is the final phase of the ambitious Dalston Square regeneration project which has created a buzzing new town centre and a key transport interchange on the east London line extension that has opened up Hackney.
The station links into the superb new Overground orbital train network around the capital stretching from West Croydon to Wembley, and from Richmond to Stratford. Modern-design apartment blocks frame the town square, the largest built in London for more than a century. A public library, cafés and shops help animate the space, and there's a popular on-site gym.
Shared-ownership options are available on one- and two-bedroom flats, with prices starting at £113,700 (full price, £379,000). Call Family Mosaic housing association on 020 7089 1315.
Back in the spotlight: Bow and Mile End
The area "arrived" about 10 years ago when development rippled out from nearby Docklands. Then, builders targeted derelict canalside buildings and old industrial sites. Fancy new flats attracted buyers from pricier parts of town, while eager gentrifiers discovered great-value period houses.
More recently, the emphasis has been on the area's council estates, with hundreds of homes being renovated. Fielder Apartments are part of the Bow Trinity estate renewal, close to Bow Church DLR. Prices from £260,000. Call Telford Homes on 020 3538 3457.
A place to watch: Haggerston
Sandwiched between bar-packed Hoxton to the south and Islington to the north, the pace of gentrification has been slower here, with some determined locals fighting off developers and Hackney council's disposal of commercial buildings.
Broadway Market, which runs from London Fields to Regent's Canal in Haggerston, has changed with the times but retains some of its old down-to-earth, street-trader character: Cooke's pie and mash shop now serves summer cocktails and survives alongside gastropubs and delis.
Check out the Towpath Café, on the canal, and Street Feast, London's first "night food market", with stalls, bars, the odd celebrity chef, art exhibitions and film screenings. The venue is Dalston Yard, on Hartwell Street.
The area is attracting singles and couples priced out of Shoreditch. City Mills is the largest new development here — 350 apartments, many with splendid views of the City skyline. Two-bedroom flats are priced from £390,000. Call 0844 406 9289.