There are three pieces of this question to answer:
1) Are buying for a primary residence or as an investor?
2) Are you looking for appreciation or someone to pay off your mortgage or both?
3) What are your predictions for the overall economy, the NYC economy, and particularly growth in East Harlem?
1) If you are buying for a primary residence and that is the key location you want to live, the interest rates are rock bottom. Important as it would set you up for your full mortgage term of low rates! If you are buying as an investor, is this the area that is going to provide the best cash flow, least issues with tenants for the money that you will be able to spend (and do not think that I believe wealthier area have less issues...the issues are just different)? Are there other areas that you would consider and what is their rate of return and type of headache quotient that you need (I have been a landlord for 10 years so there are definitely two pieces of the investor discussion). If that is the best place for your investment criteria...
2) This will determine how much money you need to put down. Do you have enough, and do other areas meet your maximums.
3) East Harlem is having some nice changes with new restaurants, and things to do. Will that continue? Will other areas improve faster? How is the economy treating East Harlem, NYC and the country? Are more people moving in, are incomes growing, etc. No one can predict the future and you are the only one that can judge your risk factor....you have to be certain that the choice you are making is the right one for you.
Bond New York