I live in downtown San Jose off N 2nd St. and Barry Swenson was the builder for City Heights as well as the complex I live in. Just a word of warning on these new construction hi-rises there is always the possibility of construction litigation we went through it at Ryland Mews. I've heard some talk about this but you'll learn that through the management company. As far as investment, it's worth it with the constant drop in prices. So much work is in the making for various transportation modes in and around the Diridon Station and you're only 3 miles from the SJ Airport.
However, there are lots of plans around City Heights that are in the making. San Pedro Market Square is in the works and planned to open late summer http://sanpedrosquaremarket.com. This will be an expansion of more unique shops on San Pedro St. Julian St. will be realigned so the park in front of City Heights will be increased and construction is planned. Little Italy is in the making which is just under the 87 overpass, Farmer's Market is back, the summer events are back; night movies, music in the park, live entertainment on S 2nd St., etc. The Guadulupe Trail is close by as well as The Market on Coleman which you can catch from the trail.
Happy to tell you more or connect you with a homeowner at City Heights.
No question in my mind this is a good time to buy. Whether it's a loft, condo, or single family home, prices now are very attractive. The bigger question is, when are you likely to see an increase in value for any home you buy?
I always advise my clients buying a multi family home (condo, townhouse, loft), the value of these properties is very sensitive to the economy. Multi family homes are generally the first to fall in value when the market slows, and last to rise when the market takes off. You have to be much more careful to time the market when you go to sell.
To ensure you protect your investment, you'll need to treat this purchase as a 5 to 10 year commitment. If you're only planning on being there for 2 or 3 years, you may find it difficult to sell and get your money out of the property without suffering a loss.
Happy house hunting!
If you are ready to purchase, then I think the downtown lofts are a great investments. Waiting may limit your choices in which units are available but may also get you a better price. The downsides of the downtown complexes is the San Jose Airport Flight pattern. The upsides are walk-to restaurants, mass transit, and entertainment. Two bedroom units are of better value than one. It is best if you can work with an agent that can negotiate a strong deal that include the upgrades without premium pricing.
In regards to timing the market. There is no way to predict that accurately. I think most of believe the big picture economy is not helping a housing rebound, but there is no way to exactly project when the bottom of the market will happen. As many have posted here before, the potential for increasing interest rates change the affordability equation a lot quicker then drops by percentages in sales price. Have your agent run different scenarios on how interest rates and price changes would affect your specific situation.