The capital of Indiana, a city of 2 million, affords its residents many of the things people could want anywhere: good schools, a thriving downtown, and top-flight suburbs.
The home of the Indianapolis 500 and the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, the city is also the Amateur Sports Capital of the World. Its neighborhoods range from a densely populated downtown to suburban tract housing to rural villages within the city limits, and boasts one of the largest municipal parks in the country.
It is home to the eighth-largest encyclopedic art museum in the country, as well as the N.C.A.A. Hall of Champions and a museum devoted to one of its most famous natives, novelist Kurt Vonnegut.
But it’s able to offer all of that at a fraction of the cost of cities on the coasts. Housing prices are rising fast, but homes are still within reach of most buyers. In fact, Realtor.com calls it “affordable relative to just about anywhere.”
In February, the median home listing price was $220,000, up 18.9 percent year-over-year.
The median home sale price was $222,000, up 23.3 percent year-over-year.
Homes were on the market for a median 9 days, down from 13 year-over-year.
The city’s combination of agreeable living and affordability have attracted buyers from all over.
“It’s definitely crazy,” said Jon Hensley, an agent with Coldwell Banker Kaiser. “We’ve seen prices rising steadily. For buyers, it’s a tough market. Homes are off the market very quickly. If it’s priced anywhere near correct and the house has any redeeming value, it is gone.”
Hensley recommends five areas that are especially promising for real estate investors.
“Broad Ripple Village is a trendy area, where a lot of homes are being rehabilitated,” says Hensley. “There’s been a focus on revitalization for years now.”
According to Austin Considine, a native writing for the New York Times, Broad Ripple Village has evolved but maintained its bohemian roots, with plentiful vintage stores, cafes, brew pubs and locally owned restaurants.
There’s also Monon Trail, a wooded walking and biking trail on an old railway line that is used by over a million people a year and runs through this part of town.
Median home sale price: $295,000
Year-over-year change: +22.5 percent
Median days on market: 10, down from 22 year-over-year
2. Fountain Square
Considine called Fountain Square “the hottest area in town.”
Situated on the southeast side of downtown, this is another area that is “revitalizing” through the rehabilitation of older homes, says Hensley.
It features plentiful choices of eateries, including farm-to-table James Beard Award semifinalist Bluebeard as well as Iaria’s, a family-style Italian restaurant. (They not only serve good food but have a sense of humor, too: their website has labeled pictures of various entrees; the shot of spaghetti and meatballs is captioned “You know what it is.”)
Median home sale price: $299,900
Year-over-year change: +12.3 percent
Median days on market: 30, down from 57 year-over-year
3. Hamilton County
“Hamilton County is seeing a population explosion,” says Hensley; between the 2010 and 2020 Census counts, the population grew by more than a quarter, from about 275,000 to around 347,000.
Hamilton County encompasses beloved suburbs like Carmel, Westfield, Noblesville, and Fishers (all of which get an A or better on Niche, based on factors like public schools, housing, and being good for families).
Median home sale price: $375,000
Year-over-year change: +13.6 percent
Median days on market: 4, down from 13 year-over-year
There is an “explosion” of revitalizing new building in the city of Greenwood, which is situated about 15 miles to the south of downtown, according to Hensley. The city’s population grew by more than 28 percent between the 2010 and 2020 Census counts, to about 64,000.
Median home sale price: $298,500
Year-over-year change: +25.9 percent
Median days on market: 4, down from 6 year-over-year
The bedroom community of McCordsville, 18 miles northeast of downtown, affords its residents many of the same amenities as Hamilton County, but is much more affordable, says Hensley.
Its population grew more than 75 percent, from about 4,800 to about 8,500 between the 2010 and 2010 Census counts.
Median home sale price: $302,500
Year-over-year change: -0.17 percent
Median days on market: 5, no change year-over-year