Sutton, the outer London borough, had a purple patch in the 18th and 19th centuries when its lavender fields, feeding off the chalky, free-draining soil of the North Downs, grew to become the centre of a worldwide industry.
Today the focus is on this suburb's town centre, which despite a conservation quarter, lost its allure in the Seventies thanks to some truly awful planning disasters.
In travel Zone 5, Sutton is affordable territory for young first-time buyers who want a quick commute into central London: 25 minutes to Victoria or 33 minutes to Blackfriars. An extension to Sutton of the Croydon to Wimbledon tram service is on the agenda, along with some serious regeneration.
Sutton Point, right next to the train station, is one of the key new projects, offering 332 high-rise flats plus shops and offices, a hotel and a fitness centre grouped around a new public square. A spectacular rooftop garden has been created on one of the buildings, too. Prices from £280,000, with Help to Buy available. Call CNM Estates on 020 8390 9265.
The local council's mission is to make Sutton borough the "UK's first sustainable suburb, one of the greenest places in the country to live". BedZED, a showpiece zero-carbon housing project shortlisted for the prestigious Stirling Prize for architecture, showed the way.
New Mill Quarter, being built beside the River Wandle, follows in this tradition, a new neighbourhood of 750 homes moments from Hackbridge train station and with its own district heating system. From £283,995. Call David Wilson Homes on 0844 7770057.