In terms of whether value will increase, my suggestion is that you not count on prices rising anytime soon. I think that it is a fantastic time to buy - the rates are amazing - and prices have come way down. There are many people who remain on the sidelines trying to time this perfectly, but I think at this point, that is silly. Might the prices fall furhter - maybe a little, might interest rates fluctuate - most likely. In the end, it becomes a zero sum game as rates rise your buying power declines.
My recommendation is to find yourself a home you will enjoy for 5 or more years. Work with an agent you are comfortable with to help you get the best possible price.
You can find me online at http://www.feenick.com You'll see a great home featured there - 14 Lillian Terrace in Piscataway - it is also listed here on Trulia. Take a look.
Search and connect at http://www.feenick.com
Nice small town with good access to highways not too far from NY trains and a good school system.
Safety concerns? Here's a link for crime stats throughout the state so you can compare different towns you may be interested in. http://www.njsp.org/info/stats.html
Historically Middlesex has gone with the market trends in the region. So as far as growth, it will do well when the market picks up.
Let me know if you need any further information and good luck in your search.