While home prices have been generally down across the country, there are always areas, and even neighborhoods, where prices drop less, and rise faster than in others. Historically, these areas seem to always be in-demand, with a waiting list of buyers. And, there are usually buyers waiting for the smallest or least desirable home in the area to hit the market. They can't afford the area average price, but they may be able to get in at the low end.
Some of these areas will always be at the top of the desirability list, because of proximity to downtown or other work-related factors. But, there will be other areas, some that may only be in the planning stages, where your home purchase can turn into a better investment on average.
Green is the Future - This isn't just the greenbelt that a city mandates to keep some nature inside the developed areas. It's also neighborhoods that have homes built to be more "green." It could be solar orientation or construction materials. There could be covenants that assure green and park areas remain in their natural state, not manicured, watered and fertilized like a golf course.
Getting to Work - Cities all around the country are building mass transit systems that are much more appealing than the old buses that never drew the urban professional to their services. Light rail, with connections to downtown destinations can "make" a new area or subdivision the next desirable area. This is especially true if the area has all of those green and natural features that come from being away from town, but excellent mass transit makes getting to uptown work fast, easy and inexpensive.
In your home search, evaluate areas, especially newer ones, for their appeal factors that are likely to carry into the future. Don't just rate them based on their appeal for you and your family, but also for different types of buyers with different careers and family sizes. Finding the area that has broad appeal, proximity to work or good transit, and outdoor appeal could be a great investment decision.