Real Estate News & Commentary

The Investor’s Guide to Grading Indianapolis Neighborhoods

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When investing for cash flow, Indianapolis is an attractive market. Due to the affordability, diverse economy, and abundant inventory, more investors are buying up properties from out-of-state to maximize returns.

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Before taking the plunge, though, be sure to do your research and familiarize yourself with the market. This goes for locals, too.

Map Key

  • DARK GREEN: A neighborhood
  • LIGHT GREEN: B neighborhood
  • YELLOW: C neighborhood
  • ORANGE: C/D neighborhood
  • RED: D neighborhood

Here’s my perspective on Indianapolis neighborhood grades from my years investing in the market along with being native to the city. Click here to take a closer look at the interactive map.

A-Class

A-class neighborhoods are primarily owner-occupied single family homes. The school systems are top notch. These single family homes start at $200k and up. They are expected to achieve lower returns compared to B, C and D neighborhoods, but this is offset by higher quality tenants, along with less management involvement. 

  • Carmel—Median income: $106,456 (zip: 46032, 46033, 46082)
  • Fishers—Median income: $97,100 (zip: 46037, 46038, 46085)
  • Zionsville—Median income: $118,190 (zip: 46077)
  • Meridian Hills—Median income: $141,563 (zip: 46220, 46240, 46260)
  • Westfield—Median income: $90,048 (zip: 46074)
  • Noblesville—Median income: $70,276 (zip: 46060, 46061, 46062)
  • Avon—Median income: $93,116 (zip: 46123)
  • Greenwood—Median income: $52,621 (zip: 46142, 46184)

Related: How Investors Get Burned Following the 2% Rule in Low-Income Neighborhoods

B-Class

B-class neighborhoods are going to be made up of a variety of both rentals and owner-occupied homes. Here you still see more owner-occupied homes overall. You will be able to find single family homes that need little work and get solid rental rates. Residents will include some education beyond high school and some blue collar workers. A very solid tenant base will live here. Rents will be around $800-$1,050.

  • Brownsburg—Median income: $68,647 (zip: 46112)
  • New Palestine—Median income: $66,711 (zip: 46163)
  • Plainfield—Median income: $61,140 (zip: 46168)
  • Southport—Median income: $51,762 (zip: 46227)
  • Whiteland—Median income: $56,944 (zip: 46184)
  • Clermont—Median income: $58,846 (zip: 46234)
  • Irvington—Median income: $60,231 (zip: 46219)
  • Bates Hendricks**
  • Fountain Square**—Median income: $38,366 (zip: 46203)
  • Broad Ripple**—Median income: $90,753 (zip: 46220)

**In recent years, Fountain Square has been experiencing gentrification driven by Millennials and has become a very hot part of town. You can find homes valued at $50k right next to $350k new construction. Bates Hendricks, just blocks away, is going through this phase as well, although it is a couple years behind.

**Broad Ripple can be considered an A neighborhood as much as a B. Very mature setting.

C-Class

C-class neighborhoods are going to be made up of about half and half renters and owner-occupants. Rents will run between $600-$800. The residents will be mostly comprised of blue collar workers. These, along with neighborhoods in B-class areas, are by far my favorite to acquire property in.

  • Speedway—Median income: $40,499 (zip: 46224)
  • Mooresville—Median income: $52,768 (zip: 46158)
  • Lawrence—Median income: $48,731 (zip: 46216, 46218, 46220, 46226, 46235, 46236, 46250, 46256)
  • Beech Grove—Median income: $37,624 (zip: 46107)
  • Martinsville—Median income: $36,379 (zip: 46151)
  • Eagledale—Median income: $26,233 (zip: 46222)
  • Little Flower—Median income: $39,298 (zip: 46201)

D-Class

D-class neighborhoods are going to consist of more rental homes. There won’t be many owner-occupied single family homes. Abandoned homes in these neighborhoods are more likely to get broken into when sitting vacant. These areas are generally not very safe and are highly management-intensive due to tenant volatility. Investors beware: Having local boots on the ground to manage is recommended. Money can be made here, but the risk increases. Rents run between $450-$700.

  • Haughville—Median income: $17,321 (zip: 46222)
  • Martindale Brightwood—Median income: $25,865 (zip: 46202, 46218, 46205)
  • Brookside Park—Median income: $38,039 (zip: 46201)
  • Grace Tuxedo—Median income: $29,114 (zip: 46201)
  • Willard Park—Median income: $29,114 (zip: 46201)
  • Mars Hill—Median income: $32,254 (zip: 46241)

I would enjoy hearing others’ insights as well.

*All median household figures were pulled from multiple reputable sources such as bestplaces.net and city-data.com.

How would you rate these neighborhoods? How is your experience investing in them?

Comment below!

Sterling is an multifamily investor specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling w...
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    Ali Hashemi Investor from Southern Indiana, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Very cool! Nice work Sterling! I always enjoy your articles and learn a lot from them – thank you. I’ll add a plug for the Southside of Indy as an underrated investment gem of an area. South all the way to Martinsville.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    I agree with the exception of Martinsville. It can be hit or miss since it is so far from the city and population in the town is stagnant. Love the Southside for multi-family.
    Ali Hashemi Investor from Southern Indiana, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    You’d be surprised. A lot of investment going on. In a few years you’ll be talking about it like people talk about bands that just got popular “…I used to listen to them before they got popular!!”. And here’s the reason why. People used to move to the southside for land (a couple acres and a nice house). Can’t get that any more so people are pushing further south. North side of Mville is 25min into town and land is cheap. Huge draw that early adopters are starting to see.
    Joe J. Rental Property Investor from West Lafayette, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Someone should do Dayton, Ohio next!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    That would be very beneficial, Joe.
    Jim C. Investor from INdiana
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Funny that your map shows the South end of Geist as being in a “B” neighborhood LOL!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Great point. Geist is very desirable. Send me cross streets since you seem to be more familiar with the neighborhood and I can look into them. I will adjust accordingly, Jim. thanks for input!
    Brian Costanzo from Frederick, Maryland
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thanks for your insight. I wish I had that detail when I started in MO. Would save me some time.
    Scott A Smith from Jeffersontown, Kentucky
    Replied over 1 year ago
    I think the analysis is mostly on point with the exception of the area north of 38th and south of 465 on the north side. Calling that entire area “B” is way off base and shows a lack of detail. 38th to 71st on the Westside has only gotten more questionable since I worked at 71st and Georgetown in the early 2000s. Broad Ripple and certain pockets around it are B- at the very best but I’d still say C+ these days. I agree with the others – the sweet spot is now on the south side of town. Closer to Fountain Square the better. I see huge growth potential there in the longer term.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thanks for your input, Scott. I will take into consideration. Do you own property in those areas mentioned above? I’d like to hear your experience.
    Ron Mccord Investor from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    Replied over 1 year ago
    These are the types of Posts invaluable to out of towners wanting to invest out of State………. I am sure I am not alone wanting to see more time and attention spent on maps and breakdowns of cross streets and zones and even the direction an area may turn.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Glad I could be of value. Thank you for the kind words, Ron.
    Audrey Spina from Brooklyn NY
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Agreed! Would be so helpful to see these posts in smaller markets for out of state investors. Incredibly helpful and you’ve opened up so many possibilities! Thanks for the insight!
    Curt Smith Rental Property Investor from Clarkston, GA
    Replied over 1 year ago
    This was a custom map using google map’s edit capbility which I didn’t know existed till I poked at the “edit new” feature off the top left menu. Wow learned about google maps. Ron, you can get a rough (figurative and literally) map using trulia.com crime over lay. Gives shades of green to red. This is an approximation for A-D …. City-data.com has census data maps of average income per zip. This data is not granular enough. Crime mapping is to the city block +/-..
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thank you for the input, Curt. The custom map feature is gold!
    Steve Goguen
    Replied over 1 year ago
    I would love to see a breakdown of Detroit metro as well.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Me too!
    Traci Gorman Residential Real Estate Broker from Indianapolis, Indiana
    Replied over 1 year ago
    I think the downtown map is pretty accurate with the exception of Cottage Home which has made a resurgence in the last 3 years beginning with Ursala David’s Pre-Fab Homes along 10th street and Stillwell st, followed by Stenz Development on Dorman St./10th St and Stillwell St. and now everything happening along 10th street by CICC building. The new homes between 10th and 9th on Dorman and Stillwell range in $450 – $600 k and now with what is happening with Bottleworks (old Coca Cola Plant on that end of Mass Ave), the values will only go up in this portion of Cottage Home.
    Karen O. from NYC, NY
    Replied over 1 year ago
    It’s also possible Fountain Square and Bates Hendricks are getting some interest as these neighborhoods are featured in the HGTV show Good Bones where mother/daughter team Karen and Mina are rehabbing homes.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    This is indeed true! These neighborhoods from my perspective have the most upside. Bates Hendricks more than Fountain Square now.
    Terri Shields from Canton, NC
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Love it. Thanks!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    no, thank you! What was your biggest takeaway from the content, Terri?
    Milos N. Software Engineer from Oakland, CA
    Replied over 1 year ago
    So on the map Irvington is both orange and yellow, and interactive map say B/C/D, but your description here says its B. Does that mean “We only know its not A, it could be anything else, some parts are B”, or how else should one interpret it?
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    The overall neighborhood is desirable, however it is very street by street and pocket by pocket in the setting. It is going in a upward trend. hope that helps provide clarity
    Rick Bracelin Rental Property Investor from Brentwood, CA
    Replied over 1 year ago
    This map is great! It will definitely be one of the tools I use when searching for potential investments in the Indy area. Thank you.
    Delaney Ridgley from Charlotte, North Carolina
    Replied over 1 year ago
    I really enjoyed this article, thanks for posting! As a former tenant in Broad Ripple, I can vouch for the Class B classification in that area. Tons of young, educated renters with a great vibe and tons to do. Thanks again for posting!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    No, thank you! Glad you enjoyed, Delaney.
    Garret Chiaramonte Investor from Smithtown, New York
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Hi Sterling, What are your personal thoughts on Anderson, IN?
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Not much going on there. Looked at a couple deals in the market, but the economics are too sub par. Population and jobs are on the decline, which is no good.
    Tyler Jahnke Rental Property Investor from Oakland, CA
    Replied over 1 year ago
    WOW as an out-of-state investor with property in Indianapolis this is an AMAZING resource! I’ll be in Indy at the end of the month checking up on my investments, strengthening relationships with my connections on the ground, and meeting new people. Would love to meet you one day Sterling! Would be great to connect! -Tyler
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Shoot me a DM and we can work towards meeting when you are in town. Glad the map helped
    Vamsi Boddu from Hollywood, Florida
    Replied over 1 year ago
    @STERLING WHITE..thanks for the great post..I’ve now shared this with other out of state investors who like me were caught in the Morris Invest/Oceanpoint fraud. Unfortunately all 4 of our properties are in the RED zone, I totally agree that those neighborhoods are D areas because a lot of houses on those streets are distressed..we were told by Clayton Morris from Morris Invest that the houses we were in solid C class neighborhoods but your map depicts them as being in D areas, this is the same experience for other investors too..We will get those properties rehabbed, place a tenant and sell it for a loss. This is the only way we can have minimum losses. Thanks again for the awesome content.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Sorry to hear that news. Very unfortunate situation. D areas can work, however there is more risk involved. Best wishes on everything, Vamsi.
    William Olvera
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Hello VAMSI BODDU, I invested in Indianapolis and was hoping to ask you a few questions regarding your experiences in the area? Appreciate the consideration and look forward to speaking with you. Sincerely
    Danny Ko Rental Property Investor from Buena Park, CA
    Replied over 1 year ago
    This is great. Thank you so much for the great post. I am a new investor who is browsing everywhere to grab every bit of information on Indy to understand the market and you basically summarized everything here. Now I can kind of tell where to avoid. I plan on visiting the city soon to verify my research and this post will be very helpful! Thank you again!!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    awesome. glad you enjoyed it post, Danny!
    Gianni Laverde Investor from Corona, NY
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Very useful and informative post. Thank you Sterling
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    no, thank you! glad it brought you value
    Martin L. Rental Property Investor from Las Vegas
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Awesome post. Everyone interested in Indy has been talking about this map, which has basically become THE map for now. Impressive!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Glad you are able to get some benefit from it. What parts are you considering on acquiring deals in, Martin?
    Bryan Zuetel Attorney from Orange County, CA
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Sterling, this is great! Thank you. Particularly helpful for an out of state investor like me trying to understand the different neighborhoods and how quickly they change. This is now a go to resource when looking at potential properties. I don’t know if you’ve done this in past year or plan to do this in future years. But, I would be really curious to see your grading in past years or future years to see the progressions in neighborhoods and whether certain neighborhoods are trending better or worse. Thanks.
    Donald Reed from Indianapolis, Indiana
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Very informative. Just getting started so I have been seeking this info. Several comments mentioned more granular level information. I have found Hometown Locator and the tools to search census information very helpful. You can get information down to the Census Block. https://indiana.hometownlocator.com/. Thanks for the great tool!
    Aderito Cardoso from San Jose, CA
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Great post Sterling. As newbie and I’m planning to invest OOS, it seems from your data that Indianapolis should be definitely a market I should be considered as one of my targets. I would love to hear more from you Sterling. Thanks
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    I am here to help. Just let me know, Aderito.
    Jennifer Ward Investor from ARVADA, CO
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thank you @Sterling White, this is so helpful. I am visiting Indy Oct 7 to 10 and will definitely be using this as my guide!
    Tony Robertson Property Manager from San Diego, CA
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thank you kindly! @Sterling White This is very valuable (AND FREE!) information and can be a key element when choosing an area to invest in. Does anyone know if similar resources for other hot investment areas (KC, Minneapolis, Orlando, etc.)?
    Michael C. from Valparaiso, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    What do you consider Emerson Heights?
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    A solid neighborhood. Working class tenants.
    Chad Bartlett
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Any insights on Christian Park? Is it on its way, between Fountain Square and Irvington? (I already own a duplex in Little Flower. Deciding whether to go back there or to Christian Park or maybe Garfield Park next time.)
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    It’s a decent working class neighborhood.
    Angela Smith
    Replied about 1 year ago
    I own in Christian Park. Rents have been increasing over the last year. There is an active community presence on social media. In addition, this is a focus area in the 2019 Keep Indianapolis Beautiful campaign. It looks like there’s gong to be some clean up and beautification of the park and the alley ways in the neighborhood. All of these things combine to point towards a healthy area for the near future.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    It’s a decent working class neighborhood.
    Richard G.
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thanks for this! Very useful. Where would you say an investor can get the most value for his money?
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Depends on one’s investment strategy. Each location will provide different value depending on what someone is looking to achieve. What are you looking to accomplish?
    Viktor R. Investor from Lynnwood, Washington
    Replied about 1 year ago
    I”m very interested in investing in Indianapolis.
    Clark Meyer Rental Property Investor from San Francisco, CA
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Great post Sterling! How would you describe the area east of post in your chart? I’ve got two in Indy, great market! Congrats on your BP interview also!
    Cedric Zebaze from Brewerytown, PA
    Replied about 1 year ago
    This is great and listened to you on the podcast twice. The rubix cube was a solid idea and figuring out what I can add has helped me improve my mindset. I will be coming down in Indy in March, this map literraly put what I thought on visual space. THANKS! After scouring through Indy forums, in the C/D areas, majority will mention that it also depends on the blocks too!
    Bridget Roseman
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Very helpful post! I’m wondering where you gathered your data for these neighborhoods if I wanted to make a similar map for different cities? Thank you for this awesome resource
    Nate Anderson Rental Property Investor from Batavia, IL
    Replied 8 months ago
    This was a custom map using google map’s edit capability which I didn’t know existed till I poked at the “edit new” feature off the top left menu. Wow learned about google maps. Ron, you can get a rough (figurative and literally) map using trulia.com crime over lay. Gives shades of green to red. This is an approximation for A-D …. City-data.com has census data maps of average income per zip. This data is not granular enough. Crime mapping is to the city block +/-..
    Julie Noone
    Replied 11 months ago
    Thank you for the great information. I’m hoping it’s still fairly accurate. We have our first duplex under contract in Lawrence. Do you have any suggestions for handling a long distance refurb in that area (ie: flooring, paint, maybe bath vanity and kitchen cabinets). Haven’t done anything long distance before. Interested to see how this goes! Thanks so much.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 11 months ago
    Best to get a solid boots on the ground Project Manager..Hope that helps.
    Austin Wilhite Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 10 months ago
    I think you’ve miscategorized a good portion of Butler-Tarkington — at least between 43rd and 46th St.
    Austin Wilhite Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 10 months ago
    And probably also at least parts of Meridian Kessler between 38th and 46th St.
    Faranak Firozan
    Replied 8 months ago
    Thank you Sterling. I am new to real estate investment and I just came across your amazing article. I had targeted a single family house at 46218 (3 bed, 2 bath) for $87k which is a new construction and builder also own a property management company. They listed it for $900 rent, they advertised it for 3 weeks, had 20+ applicants but it seems none of them had above 500 score credit so still looking for renter. Based on your map, it seems to be in red area. I am curious if you recommend me to start with this property or something in a safer area? I do not live in Indianapolis.
    Ben McCall Real Estate Professional from Nashville, Tennessee
    Replied 8 months ago
    this is great, thanks for doing this. I’m an out of state investor but have family in Indy and travel there frequently. I’m hoping to pick up my first buy and hold soon. Thanks again!
    Jeremy Johnson from Williamsburg, Virginia
    Replied 7 months ago
    LOVE THIS!! Thank you!!
    Vincent Gambin
    Replied 6 months ago
    Great post! We are currently looking at an area in east Indy, just not sure why it's not graded in your guide? It's close to the 70 freeway, specifically 25th street. Homes are valued 40-60K? Is that on the red zone? let us know! This will be our first investment property in IN.
    Angel Scalero from Redondo Beach, CA
    Replied 5 months ago
    Thanks for this article!! I live in southern California and am looking for a market to start my real estate investing journey in. I will definitely be looking more into Indy. Any agents you recommend working with in the area who specialize in single family home investors?
    Cameron O'Connor Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 4 months ago
    Awesome chart. Born and raised in Indianapolis, and now investing in the area. I can vouch for just about all of this chart. Things always change street corner to street corner. So this is a great start. Everyone investing should dig further and get their own market research using this as a solid guideline. I can also vouch that the C neighborhoods are great for investing. Indianapolis is growing so fast with new people moving here all the time. It's a great time to be an investor! Don't wait for the market to become "less inflated". There are still deals out there, then when the market consolidates you'll be a pro and able to gobble up 3x as many properties.
    Arian Doaks New to Real Estate from Ontario, CA
    Replied about 2 months ago
    You seem to be very knowledgeable on research. I'm from in Indianapolis but since moved to California where I've been for 13 years. Now I want to start investing back in Indianapolis but don't know the city very well anymore. In addition to this map, because i'm across the map, do you have any suggestions of where I can look to research my target areas I'm considering purchasing in? Thank you in advance for any advice you may give!
    Marija Sparano Accountant from White Plains, NY
    Replied 3 months ago
    WOW, this is great! Thank you for creating this map. It's very useful for newbies like me to get familiar with the market and dive deeper into certain neighborhoods of interest. Is the map still accurate? I am asking since the article is a year old, so things might have changed.
    Cameron Davis Investor from Austin, TX
    Replied about 2 months ago
    Simple question: When was the map last updated, and how often do you plan to update it? Thank you!
    Nick Gaines Rental Property Investor from Champaign, IL
    Replied 5 days ago
    Thank you Sterling for writing this. I'm actually headed to Indy right now with this map in hand to check out some of the neighborhoods.