El Paso has been pretty consistent when it comes to appreciation for many years. It is the slow and steady appreciation as opposed to the wild spikes seen in other markets, that has kept the bottom from falling out like Phoenix and Las Vegas. The rental market remains strong, in part because of Ft Bliss' expansion, but if you are relying on soldiers to rent your property you must keep in mind their housing allowance is what it is and they can only go so high. Even though we have more renters than homes the military housing allowance for El Paso went down for 2011.
Kern Place is a very popular neighborhood and has been for many years, but maintenance issues on those homes can get real pricey real fast. Franklin Hills or Cimarron with newer homes that will be much less expensive to maintain will, most likely, be harder to rent for a price that makes investment sense. I would think that a home with good "bones" in Kern would make more sense for investment.
Robb, please keep in mind that I am not advising you to purchase in Kern or anywhere else and would not advise you without a comprehensive discussion of your wants and needs and investment strategies.Please let me know if I can be of assistance and good luck in your search.