Maybe it’s all the flowers or the prospect of longer days ahead. Or maybe it’s just the general sense of optimism the season brings, but something about spring makes even the most non-committal renter consider buying. This year is no different as we approach the full swing of spring and buyer demand. There is one thing, however, that is very different this year – namely that Manhattan inventory has dropped to its lowest point in five years.

Traditionally, inventory increases slightly during the first couple of months of the year, but this year the number of homes for sale is actually less than the final months of 2014 — a time of year considered the market’s off-season. Only 10,243 homes were on the market in the first quarter 2015, leaving buyers in hungry anticipation of the arrival of new inventory that’s expected over the second quarter of the year. Although some relief will come this spring since it’s the season when most sellers list their homes, there’s no getting around the shortage of inventory buyers will face. This shortage of inventory has led to steadily increasing prices for homes in Manhattan, bringing the current median sales price up to $946K.

What You Can Find for Under $946K in Manhattan

If you’re set on buying in Manhattan, there are still neighborhoods where the median sales price is under the $946K borough-wide median and inventory is actually rising, making these places good bets for buyers. Here are five Manhattan neighborhoods to consider this spring.

Hamilton Heights

Hamilton Heights Numbers
Median sales price$392,695
Year-over-year inventory growth9.4%

Perched above the Hudson River, Hamilton Heights has great views, calm streets and classic prewar co-ops. With a median price of $392,695, Hamilton Heights has the lowest median sales price of any Manhattan neighborhood. This spring, it’s a particularly smart choice for buyers since its inventory rose 9.4% over the last year. Compare that with the borough at large where the median price is $946K and inventory has declined 7.6%. For buyers who want to stay in Manhattan and are looking for big sky and an open-airy feel, Hamilton Heights is a great option. Located at 513 West 135th Street, this $299K Hamilton Heights two-bedroom has recently been renovated and is right near Riverbank State Park and a Fairway.

Hamilton Heights Two-Bedroom
$299K Two-bedroom in Hamilton Heights

>> See what you can get in Hamilton Heights for less than $946K

Washington Heights

Washington Heights Numbers
Median sales price$490,500
Year-over-year inventory growth13.2%

Great for grad students and growing families, Washington Heights offers a lot of space for a lot less than most places in Manhattan. With a median price of $490,500, Washington Heights is, however, more pricey than its aforementioned neighbor to the south, Hamilton Heights. Buyers, however, will find more options there this year. This spring, there are 274 listings on the market, a 13.2% increase over last year. Given the combo of good prices and greater options to choose from, buyers may have more negotiating power in Washington Heights than they would elsewhere in the city where prices are higher and inventory is lower. This two-bedroom at 255 Cabrini Boulevard is going for $599K and has nearly 1,000-square feet of living space, a big kitchen and lots of closets.

Two-bedroom in Washington Heights
$599K Two-bedroom in Washington Heights

>> See what you can get in Washington Heights for less than $946K

Manhattan Valley

Manhattan Valley Numbers
Median sales price$705,000
Year-over-year inventory growth3.4%

Head further south and prices get more expensive, but you can still find a good deal in Manhattan Valley where the median sales price is $705K. That’s well below the borough-wide median and an enticing price point for a neighborhood with so much to offer including proximity to great parks, schools and shopping. Inventory is on the rise there too, increasing 3.4% over last year. With 91 listings on the market this spring, however, buyers in Manhattan Valley should keep in mind that it’s still a relatively small market. If you’re set on a central location and want a price below the Manhattan-wide median, keep Manhattan Valley in mind, but be prepared to act fast. Great finds, like this $649K two-bedroom, won’t last long.  Located at 235 West 108th Street, it’s got a terrific location just around the corner from Riverside Park and Absolute Bagels which makes it the perfect launch spot for a lazy spring weekend.

two-bedroom in Manhattan Valley
$649K Two-bedroom in Manhattan Valley

>>See what you can get in Manhattan Valley for less than $946K

Battery Park City

Battery Park City Numbers
Median sales price$880,000
Year-over-year inventory growth20.6%

Head way far south – just about as far south as you can get in Manhattan – and you hit Battery Park City where median sales prices this quarter are $880K. Though that’s a lot more than what you might pay further uptown in the other neighborhoods on this list, Battery Park City is below the city’s median sale price and one of the only neighborhoods where prices declined and inventory rose year over year. Prices declined 8.3% YoY and there are now 164 listings on the market, a 20% increase over last year. This puts buyers in a good position, giving them a lot to choose from at price points that are significantly lower than the rest of the Downtown market where the median sales price is $1.275M. This $520K one-bedroom would be great for a young-professional looking for an apartment with lots of amenities and accessibility to everything. Located at The Cove Club at 2 South End Avenue, the condo is right on the Hudson River esplanade and has views of the Statue of Liberty.

Two-bedroom in Battery Park City
$520K One-bedroom in Battery Park City

>>See what you can get in Battery Park City for less than $946K

Midtown West

Midtown West Numbers
Median sales price$881,075
Year-over-year inventory growth23.4%

Midtown is booming with new luxury condos, but head a little west and prices are less crazy. In Midtown West, the median sales price is $881,075, down almost 20% from last year. This is impressive given all the new construction going on in the area and the fanfare it’s bringing along with it. That new construction boom has also brought a lot of new inventory to the market there. This quarter, Midtown West has seen a 23.4% gain in new listings over last year and had 438 listings. The steep gain in inventory, coupled with the steep decline in prices, positions Midtown West as a smart neighborhood for buyers eager to negotiate and lock in a good deal in the heart of Manhattan. Although this $965K two-bedroom is just over the $946K benchmark, it’s a duplex on the top floor of 407 West 40th Street and has a private roof deck and fireplace.

Two-bedroom duplex in Midtown West
$965K Two-bedroom duplex in Midtown West

>>See what you can get in Midtown for less than $970K