If you are looking for a deal in that area it probably will have to be a foreclosure (and some of those do exist) because otherwise only the most desperate home owners (e.g. moving out of state but don't want to foreclose) are selling in this market and 2-3 years before the new UC research campus and underpass are being built.
Fact is I would build a house of my own with an architect before I'd sink a load of investment money in a large operation like that unless you want the worry free living they offer. An individual house in a better area would make more sense to me, using an Architect to locate the site as well, and budget the project so it works out. Labor is down right now and it is easy to get work done, I believe, if anyone wanted work done. Those condos are probably pretty cheap right now though.
Its a challenge. but it is always cheaper to build with an architect.
Windermere Rowland Realty