A Guide to Buying a House in: Indiana

(Because you might get get lost in all the cornfields)
Christine Lacagnina Written by Christine Lacagnina
Christine Lacagnina
Written by Christine Lacagnina

Christine Lacagnina has written thousands of insurance-based articles for TrustedChoice.com by authoring consumable, understandable content.


So you're (possibly) going to buy a house in Indiana. Well, you've come to the right place, because we've already put together a brief guide to the housing market of The Hoosier State (correct - their state nickname), with some surprises thrown in, just for fun. So, let's get rollin'.

The Most and Least Expensive Cities in Indiana

Before you spin around and randomly point to a place on the map to move to next, you might wanna know which areas in the state are the most/least pricey. We went over and compiled a list of a few in each category, as of 2018.

Most expensive cities:

  • Munster
  • Dyer
  • Chesterton
  • Valparaiso
  • Merrillville

Least expensive cities:

  • New Castle
  • Connersville
  • Muncie
  • Greensburg
  • Wabash

There you have it. Your money friends will thank you dearly for taking this info into account before settling on the location for your upcoming move - trust us. No matter where you choose to buy your new home, you can find affordable home insurance within our trusted network.

Indiana's Housing Market

For a place that's been referred to as one of the flyover states, there sure are plenty of people living and doing things here. Before you set your sights on Indiana without looking back, you might want to check out what the housing market's like. Let's look at an overview, next.

As of 2018, Indiana's housing market is currently very healthy. But it's not just eating its fruit and veggies, it's also healthy thanks to the state's low unemployment rate (that just keeps going down) mixed with its growing economy. 

Being part of the Rust Belt, Indiana has lots of jobs in the manufacturing industry, but it's also got plenty in the agricultural field. Job growth and the influx of more workers allows for interest rates on homes to rise, and creates a "fast-moving market. Unfortunately, builders are struggling a bit when it comes to churnin' out new housing to keep up with the demand.

So where is THE place to be in Indiana these days? Apparently it's Carmel, which is about a half-hour drive from the state's capital, Indianapolis. Why Carmel? Well, it's also gotten "A" rankings in the following categories: jobs, crime/safety, housing, public schools, family-friendliness and health/fitness. 

Plus, its close proximity to the state's biggest metropolitan area is a win for convenience and entertainment factors. Homes in Carmel have an average value of $306,500 and are not overpriced like those in Indianapolis. 

And check this out - Indiana's got a ton of new construction in the works, pretty much all over the state. Some areas to note that have plenty of new development underway include Michigan City and South Bend in the north part of the state, Lafayette, Kokomo and Indianapolis in central Indiana, and Evansville and New Albany in the southern part of the state. Those who have their hearts set on a brand new place should have plenty of luck on their hunt here.

Home Property Values and Costs in Indiana

It's helpful to know where to search for that new place, but it'd help even MORE to know what kind of moolah you'll be shelling out for it. Next up, we'll look at home costs and property values. Let's dive in.

To start off, the average home value in Indiana is currently about $133,700. Homes are currently listed on the market for around $179,900, and renting a house costs about $1,075/month. As far as home appreciation goes, home values increased 6.9% in 2018, and they're predicted to rise another 3.7% over the next year. The current average price per square foot is about $104.

While that's all well and good, our apartment/condo fans may be feeling left out. Well, places in Chesterton average about $859/month, and places in Indianapolis average about $820/month. In Muncie, you'll find places going for about $888/month. And according to bestplaces.net, you'll find one-bedroom places listed for an average of $488/month in Wabash, and for about $520/month in Connersville.

Townhouse lovers, you're up next. The average range in rent for townhouses in the state begins on the low-end at around $425/month for a one-bed/one-bath joint, and tops out on the high end at around $4,500/month for a four-bed/four-bath joint.

You'll Want to Check Out Your Tornado Coverage in Indiana

Before you declare "all systems go" on your move to Indiana, you should probably be aware of the natural disasters the state's most prone to. In Indiana's case, it's tornadoes. Luckily most homeowners insurance policies include coverage for tornadoes, but you'll need to check out your specific policy to be extra-crazy sure.

Some policies may require you to get an additional, separate tornado insurance rider, or to specifically name tornadoes among events that you want them to cover. Damage to your actual home and personal possessions are typically covered by a regular homeowners policy. 

If you're a renter, your renters insurance should cover your personal property, while your landlord should cover building damage. Your policy is also likely to provide short-term housing in case the storm is extra-nasty and leaves you temporarily homeless, which wouldn't be cool.

In short, you should really know what YOUR policy covers, because it's super-important. Don't be afraid to ask your agent for clarification if you're even 0.1% unsure. Finding out you're lacking in coverage AFTER a catastrophe is not your idea of a good time. We're willing to bet on it.


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Quality of Schools in Indiana

Another thing to think about before choosing your next state is the quality of its school system. How good is Indiana at educating its Hoosiers (the official term for Indiana residents)? We'll check into it, right now.

Here are some 2018 WalletHub stats about how Indiana schools ranked in the country:

  • #24 overall for the US
  • #22 for quality
  • #23 for safety 

The top-rated schools in the state are Signature School (high school) in Evansville, and the University of Notre Dame, in (gasp) Notre Dame.

Reasons to Move to Indiana (...or not)

Sweet deal, so we've covered all the necessary boring statistical stuff, and it's time to move on to the more fun section of our guide. Alllllright. So why, you ask, do people even WANT to move to Indiana? Let's find out from some actual living/breathing Hoosiers, right now.

PROs (as voted by real-life Hoosiers):

  • Low cost of living: Single adults need to make only $10.70/hour to live comfortably, according to livingwage.mit.edu. So, unless you're spending all your hard-earned money  betting on races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (which we'll cover in a moment), chances are very good that a life here won't be financially difficult.
  • Good weather: Indiana residents love to brag about their four distinct, mild seasons. Summers are not-too-humid and winters are not-super-snow-heavy. It may be overcast often, but the temperature's usually pleasant. All the easier to sit outside and watch Indy race cars whiz past - for hours on end.
  • Museums and historical sites: Indiana's home to several history-rich museums and sites, ready to satisfy all those with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Included here are, to name just a few: Angel Mounds State Historic Site, Auburn Cord Dusenberg Automobile Museum, Brauer Museum of Art, Buckley Homestead Living History Farm, Eitelljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and two children's museums. So, something for everyone, pretty much. 
  • Proximity to major cities: Hoosierville is just a day's drive away from Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, Nashville and Cleveland. In just a few hours, your day's itinerary could shift from watching the wind blow through the cornfields to watching an awesome concert of a big name artist in one of these major cities. Rock on. 
  • Road trips: Because there isn't too much traffic from major attractions or congested big cities, Hoosiers say that Indiana is great for local road trips. Just pick up a few of your closest friends, pack your favorite country music playlist,hit up the nearest Steak 'n Shake drive-thru, and prepare yourself for the start of an epic(?) adventure.

CONs (also from the mouths of real Hoosiers)

  • Not much to do: Outside of Indianapolis, locals have to own up to the fact that...there's just not a whole lot to do here. Big name music acts and other celebrities typically don't make stops in The Crossroads of America (boom, the state's other nickname). But Indiana doesn't appeal to people who want to be constantly on the move and activity-hoppin'. In fact, many who move here probably do so because it's NOT as fast-paced as other places. (That does appeal to some people, ya know.)
  • Public transit: Residents agree that their public transit system leaves much to be desired - if you move here, you can expect to have to drive yourself wherever you want to go. On the plus side, there won't be much traffic. 
  • Corn, corn (and more) corn: Anyone who's ever been to or through Indiana can tell you this - it is chock-a-block FULL of corn. Jam-packed, literally. You can't drive very far without a cornfield sneaking into view from at least half of your windows. It makes for some rather dull scenery - but on the plus side, there are some pretty epic corn mazes in the fall.

Stuff to Do in Indiana

Alright, so now we know WHY people decide to be reborn as Hoosiers, but WHAT do they do, after that? We know that it's more than just a flyover state, but let's dive into specifics. Locals offered up some of their insider secrets to the state's hot spots, from state parks to loud music to even loud-er cars.

Here are just a few of the state's coolest attractions:

  • Indiana Dunes State Park: Consisting of "2,182 acres of primitive, beautiful, historic and unique Hoosier landscape," this park houses more than three miles of beach along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. The sand dunes took thousands of years to form, and everyone wants to see 'em. There's also a black oak forest, wooded wetlands and a marsh. The park also claims to have "some of the most diverse flora and fauna in the Midwest". You'll find it in Chesterton. 
  • Turkey Run State Park: The park's official website boasts that a trip here will allow you to "see how Indiana was shaped by ancient forces" and "discover ancient Indiana's remains." You'll see ravines, sandstone gorges, hiking trails, campsites, bridle trails, historic sites and a nature center. Natural-born explorers will love the long bridges and tall ladders. There's also a river for canoeing and fishing. Find it in Marshall.
  • Lotus World Music & Arts Festival: Held in Bloomington, this annual festival spans four days of music and art. The festival's official website states that the mission of the event is to "create opportunities to experience, celebrate and explore the diversity of the world's cultures through music and the arts." The town's streets are lined with visual art, while visitors' ears are filled with tunes.
  • The Indy 500: Called the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," 2018 will hold the 102nd iteration of this annual sporting event in Indianapolis. The race is 200 laps long, spanning a distance of about 500 miles. IndyCar drivers compete at an average speed of 117 mph for the chance to win a giant trophy - and to continue the tradition of kissing the brick finish line. Indianapolis Motor Speedway also offers a museum and daytime tours, so visitors can get their chance to pucker up and "kiss the bricks" (maybe not on a super-hot day, though). 
  • The World's Largest Ball of Paint: A roadside attraction sure to stop you in your tracks in Alexandria is none other than (drumroll) ...the world's largest ball of paint. It all started with a simple baseball...that got coat after coat of paint applied to it, day after day, year after year - finishing at more than 25,000 coats. At 14 feet tall, weighing a whopping 2.5 tons, the thing now hangs from a chain. Pull over to see this lumpy mass, and you're sure to have yourself a ball. (See what we did there?)

Staking a Claim in Indiana

Alright folks, there it is - our Reader's Digest version of an overview of Indiana's housing market, with a bit of fun stuff piled on top. Clearly it's not within the realm of possibility to go over EVERYTHING that may concern you about the state before moving there (we're busy perfecting our Steak 'n Shake order), but here's hoping you're closer to making a confident decision than when you joined us.

If you can envision yourself in Hoosierville, we're sending our most inspiring and supportive vibes your way. So get on it. Make sure your new home is covered properly with an affordable home insurance policy.

Good luck.

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