5 New York Neighborhoods to Buy Into Now

10/31/2013 12:01 pm ET | Updated Dec 31, 2013

Who doesn't wish they'd bought in SoHo in the '80s? Everyone wants to get in on a neighborhood just before it goes gangbusters. Below, the five most promising real-estate bets in the city right now.

New York is a city of distinct neighborhoods, almost all of which reinvigorate and reinvent themselves over time. Yesterday's industrial park or underdeveloped wasteland is tomorrow's gold coast. Just look at the emergence of SoHo in the 1980s, the Lower East Side in the 1990s and Williamsburg in the 2000s.  According to Property Shark, housing prices in Williamsburg have increased by 174% since 2004, with average home prices going from $269 per square foot to $736. By way of comparison, the average US home price actually decreased by 7.6% since 2004. One building at 529 Broadway in SoHo which was purchased for less than a million dollars in 1980 just sold for $150 million.

Of course, it isn't easy to figure out the right time to buy into a neighborhood -- that perfect moment when it's on the verge, right before the prices skyrocket and the New York Times starts doing saturation coverage in the Sunday Styles. Purchasing at that vanguard is hugely advantageous, as the property's value will go up relatively quickly, and you get to experience the excitement of living in a neighborhood while it ripens to maturity.

You're also likely to pay less at the bodega for your beer and have the advantage of eating at all the cool but currently out-of-the-way places before they hit the city's collective consciousness.

At any given time, several neighborhoods around the city are in this verge stage. Here are five to watch out for now.

5 Neighborhoods to Buy Into Now