Its a great question and you propbably have seen alot of activity in these areas and that is partly because many of the people who bought into these communities bought at the peak of the real estate market. Some of the Parc Place condos sold in the 800k's. So there have been many short sales and foreclosures in the area. I myself actually live in the KB Luna Condo's which are at 600-800 S Abel. The question to buy a condo in today's market is a tough one because typically they do carry a HOA. When you decide to rent out your investment more often than not you will still pay for the HOA.
I wish you luck in your search and if you have any questions feel free to contact me.
Intero Real Estate
Buying a condo is a great investment today, at the right price. Parc Place and Paragon are still yielding around 5%, just like the condo towers (Axis and 88). If you want an investment-grade building, consider City Heights, which offering some units at close to 8-10% yield.
All three (88, Axis and Centria) were built in 2008, only Centria is fully occupied and with that, the advantage of a homeowner board. Unlike builders, homeowners care more about the monthly assessments, and so Centria has the lowest assessment of all three buildings. I asked and the seller at Centria said it hasn't been $500 for a while now.
(The following is copypasta from my other post tonight).
Centria's assessment has been coming down steadily each year ever since the homeowners took over the board from the builder. I was told that as of 2011, the range is $377 for a 680 sq ft one bedroom, to $470 for a 1,454 sq ft three bedroom. 5 of their floor plans are now paying less than $400. They are still working on more reductions in 2011.
Other than management and their handy man, the HOA dues covers water, hot water, gas, gym, heated pool, jacuzzi, exterior insurance, garbage, janitorial, utilities in all common area.. I think that's the complete list. Some first floor residents get free wifi. Pool and gym are open year round, but the pool is not heated during winter.
Builders are still at 88 and Axis, so their keeping them up is a given. But I was surprised to hear that Centria was built in 2008 and the builder sold all the units by 2009 and left. It looked completely new to me, I mean both the exterior and the interior of the unit I was looking at both looked very new. The garage was brightly lit. Of all three garages, Centria's garage is the brightest.
Their lobby is very cozy and homeowners could just reserve and use it, no fees. I ran into a few neighbors, seem like a friendly place. The two neighbors I saw smiled and said hi. Axis and 88, not so much. They pay like $600 a month with floor to ceiling window like in the movies, maybe they think they are better than everybody.
Axis and 88 each has a receptionist at the lobby 24/7, Centria has someone sitting in their ground floor office, I think she's a part time.
Realty World-Blue Property
The issues with Centria: High HOA's nearly $500 depending on floorplan, Hotel like condos meaning you park in an open garage below the structure. The builder is offering 2bed homes in the high 300's (negotiable by the way) best to use a broker to negotiate and even see new homes. The high overhead turns the investment scenario you had into a bad idea in this type of condo.
The Paragon is similar to Parc Place yet very narrow and tri-level with tiny garage.
The schools in this area of Milpitas are good: API's Ranging from 650-800's
There are some great deals in Parc Place right now: Exp. 261 Parc Place just hit the market @ $449k 3bd 2bth 1280 sq.ft. 2 car garage and only $185/mth HOA dues.
Might be worth a look!
I know you're in the information gathering stage right now. I respect your privacy and want you to know if there is anything else you have a question about please feel free to contact me.
Have a great day!