For low living costs, it’s hard to beat Indiana. If you’re looking to get your foot on the property market but only have a limited budget at your disposal, it may well be your ideal destination. While there’s often a correlation between low home value and low desirability, not so in Indiana. As well as an affordable property market, it also boasts a booming economy, low unemployment, and some stunning scenery. If all this has you biting at the bit to move in, get some inspiration from our round-up of the 20 best places to live in Indiana.
Kicking off our list in style is the delightful Westfield, a suburb of Indianapolis with a population of around 35,956. One of the main draws of the suburb is the supremely affordable housing ($232,300 should be all it takes to get a decently sized property here). That said, there’s more to Westfield than cheap houses: the schools are among the best in the state (with Carmel High School, Carmel Middle School, Cherry Tree Elementary School, Oak Trace Elementary School, and Westfield High School all earning top marks for test scores and graduation rates), the job market is strong enough to support a median income of $89,144, the amenities are excellent, and there’s some great dining options available. Needless to say, crime, unemployment and poverty are all minimal.
It may be small, but the diminutive Ravenswood has quite the collection of desirable features. As well as offering easy access to the big city thrills of Indianapolis, its residents enjoy a low crime rate, a robust median income of $57,646, a good range of schools, and, perhaps best of all, some seriously low house prices. Expect to pay no more than $120,967 for a home here (to put that in perspective, the national average is a comparatively huge $184,700).
18. Fall Creek
Just $153,730 will get you a property in the excellent neighborhood of Fall Creek in Indianapolis. The area comes with a reasonably low crime rate, access to some top-ranking schools, an abundant range of amenities, and well-funded public services. If you can’t quite stretch to $153,730, don’t worry too much – rental properties average the jaw droppingly low price of $393 per month (which, when you consider most residents are netting a $71,002 income, leaves a lot of disposal wealth floating around the area).
Key attractions of the Millersville neighborhood of Indianapolis include an excellent number of wining and dining venues, a good handful of parks and green spaces, an unalarming crime rate, a good school system and the kind of property market where $146,892 will get you a more than decent home.
At $49,827, the median household income in Castleton may be slightly below the national average, but it’s unlikely you’ll hear too many complaints considering the average home price comes in at... wait for it … an absurdly low $62,473. Don’t confuse the jaw-droppingly low house prices for a lack of desirability, though. With a good range of amenities, a regular farmer’s market, a library, and good access to shopping and dining venues, Castleton is unquestionably a strong addition to our list.
Devon may only have a population of 3,781, but its status as one of Indianapolis’ most desirable neighborhoods is growing rapidly. With affordable housing (most single-family homes will cost around $145,617, while rent stands at around $686), a safe vibe, a good sense of community, and access to enough job opportunities to guarantee a median income of $60,043, it’s little wonder Devon is becoming such a popular choice with families.
14. Delaware Trails
With a population of 8,676, Delaware Trails is small, friendly, and offers a peaceful respite from the constant buzz of larger neighborhoods. The median home value may be slightly higher than some of Indianapolis’ other neighborhoods, but at $195,943, it’s still eminently affordable. Crime is on the low side for the city, while the average household income of $60,196 is on the high side. All in all, a very decent place indeed.
13. Meridian Kessler
“Best bang for your buck. I'm a newer resident in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood, but I love how walkable anything/everything is. There is very much a sense of community in this neighborhood. Though I am currently renting right now, I am looking to purchase a home in the neighborhood or nearby,” says one local resident of Meridian-Kessler on Niche, and with its low crime rate, average median income of $94,939, and average home price of $278,300, it’s easy to understand the sentiment
12. Wynnedale – Spring Hill
If you’re wondering what makes Wynnedale – Spring Hill such a desirable location, a quick look at the facts and figures about this pleasant neighborhood of Indianapolis should answer your question. The average home price is a very affordable $174,421, rent is an even more affordable $633, crime is low, most residents earn an average income of $65,941, and 24 % of the population consists of families, giving the neighborhood the kind of friendly, close-knit vibe that’s hard to beat.
11. Meridian Hills
The small suburb of Meridian Hills may only have 1,813 residents, but those residents can count themselves very fortunate indeed. The streets are safe and walkable, the thrills and spills of Indianapolis are within a short drive away, the local economy is thriving (so much so, in fact, most households are bringing home a $151,563 income), the schools are good, and there’s a feeling of refinement and affluence that’s sometimes hard to find in the city. The cost of moving to such a desirable enclave? A pretty hefty $453,200.
10. Traders Point
At #10 we have Traders Point, a small neighborhood in Indianapolis with 7,282 residents. The public schools serving the area are well above average, while the median income is similarly atypical at a hefty $117,868. The streets are safe, clean and walkable, while the slightly rural feel is helped along with the numerous organic farms that populate the area. Access to the city is excellent, giving residents plenty of options when it comes to shopping and recreation pursuits. While the average house price of $322,034 is higher than some of the others we’ve seen, it’s still a very reasonable price to pay for the privilege of living in such a hot spot.
With excellent public schools, affordable housing (most properties come in for just a smidgen over the 200k mark, while rental properties can be found for around $803 per month), low unemployment, crime, and poverty rates, a job market strong enough to support a median income of $71,386, and a great range of amenities and services, Clearwater makes a great addition to our list at #9
As Crazy Tourist notes, Zionsville is a regular fixture on ‘best of’ lists, and for very good reason. With a population of 25,000, the town is large enough to offer enough variety by way of amenities, parks, attractions, leisure facilities, and events, but small enough to maintain its close knit, friendly community. Residents enjoy one of the highest incomes in the state ($127,152, for the record), and while housing prices may be on the high side, few will quibble over $360,100 when it comes with access to one of the lowest crime rates in Indiana, and some of the best schools.
7. Butler – Tarkington
Up next is Butler – Tarkington, a gorgeous neighborhood of Indianapolis with a unique personality all of its own. The 15477 residents are well served by plenty of affordable accommodation options (rental properties typically cost around $757 per month, while purchase properties are usually around $247,218), excellent public schools, and a great range of amenities. Thanks to its access to the job opportunities of the big city, most residents are netting a very healthy salary of $84,941, while few would complain about the great community spirit that can be found here.
6. Broad Ripple
Thanks to its combination of high incomes and low home prices, Broad Ripple offers the best bang for your buck in the state. As well as the low home value of $80,279 and high-income value of $80,279, there’s a lot to be said for this exclusive little neighborhood, including an active community, some great local bistros and cafes, easy access to the Monon walking/biking trail, lovely scenery, and every kind of amenity you could wish for. With features like these, it’s little wonder so many residents are keen to sing its praises. ‘Broad Ripple is a quaint unique town. With boutiques and restaurants of small business owners,” sums up one Niche reviewer. “Its got a low crime rate and beautiful scenery. The restaurants are unique and they are not franchised, with unique foods and creative talents of chefs and creative art along the main street in town. There are no other shops or restaurants in Indiana that are in Broad Ripple. So much diversity in this small unique town, diverse in people, food and art. There is a trail for walking and bike riding as well.
14,298 residents of Indiana choose to call Allisonville home, and for very good reason. Properties sit at the very affordable median value of $215,214, while the average household income of $75,485 is more than respectable (and a darn sight more than the national average, to boot). Crime is rare, while unemployment and poverty sit similarity low on the scale. Amenities are abundant, and there’s a great sense of community that shines through.
4. North Central
If you’re struggling to think of what to do with that stray $298,343 taking up space in your bank account, you may want to consider using it to invest in a property in the lovely neighborhood of North Central. 8,165 Indiana residents have already done just that, and if the reviews on Niche are anything to go by, they’re more than happy with their decision. “Awesome area with a diverse range of things to do. Lots of bike paths and small family-run businesses. Friends in the neighborhood are common because the people are friendly,” says one. With excellent schools, a low crime rate, a job market that’s healthy enough to support a median household income of $96,850, and an abundance of amenities, it’s a sentiment few would disagree with.
With just 4,921 residents to its name, little Glendale is certainly not going to be winning any prizes for population size anytime soon, but it may still scope a few for sheer desirability. The average median income sits at a healthy $60,753., while home prices are attractively affordable at just $225,694. Most residents are well educated (33% have a bachelor’s degree while another 28% have a master's). Those that haven’t yet finished their education can look forward to a bright future thanks to the excellent schools serving the area. With its combination of being close enough to the city to enjoy its abundance of jobs, amenities, and attractions with a small town, friendly vibe, it’s easy to understand its attraction.
Just missing out on a spot at the top is the supremely desirable community of Fishers. Housing sits at a very affordable $240,100, while the median income stands at a more than respectable $101,469. The schools servicing the district are excellent (Fishers Junior High School, Hoosier Road Elementary School, Cumberland Road Elementary School, and Hamilton Southeastern Intermediate / Junior High all score top marks for tests and graduation rates), while the range of amenities and services on hand is hard to fault.
As Livability notes, Carmel was selected as the "Best Place to Live in the United States" by CNN Money magazine in 2012, and received the same title by Niche.com in 2017 and again in 2019. The reason for its enviable designation? Try the low crime rate, the great sense of community, faultless schools, and fantastic schedule of year-round activities (including events like the 4th of July parade and Carmel Fest, a weekly farmers market, and Palladium concerts). Come winter there’s even an ice rink for residents to enjoy.
Written by Liz Flynn
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