Real estate follows banking industry (remember recent colapse of the mortgage industry caused by subprime lending practices?) which caused seriousl impact on the local and even global economy.
Reading between the lines I'm hearing the question "should I buy a condo now or not?" and my answer is: YES, if you can afford it! There hasn't been such an opportune moment as it is now as compared to, at least, the past 30 years when the interest rates have gotten to be historically low and the prices have not been going up for the past 6 years!
I'd say, if you want and can buy, don't hesitate. Just be smart about what and where you are buying.
Decline in price happen for many reason, there is no guarantee. But with a thoughtful plan and being well informed by real estate agent, lender or mortgage broker, you can minimize some risk. Every buyer buy there home for different reason, and also sell it for different reason which will come to play on how you could loose or gain in you home sale value. I recommend you to talk to your real estate agent, and let him or her know about your plan; how long are you expecting to live in this home, what cost will involve when you sell it. If you are planing on buying and selling in a short period of time you should really be advised and think carefully.
Every house is also different, if you buy a home to fix up you may get some return of your investment at the end as well. I hope you have some good advisors.
The real estate sales price decline is based on many things. The top reasons are what the banks and wall street are doing, the economy itself, along with employment numbers and the consumers' faith in how the economy is going to turn.
We have seen some increase in real estate values since the new President took office but, the question is can he convince the government, banks, and wall street that this upward turn can continue. It is a crapshoot. Malden is a city with good proximity to Boston and Cambridge and has T and bus service. The last 15 years have brought growth to the city. These are all good and important pieces to consider when buying because remember the old real estate mantra...Location, Location, Location.
Best of luck to you and your move; if I can be of service, feel free to contact me.