Neo V is a de-facto standard for anything near 17-18K. I know quite a few of people who have gone for the Neo V
Other alternatives may be the Desire S which has a very good dev community but will be slightly overbudget (Although today's eBay deal of the day was the Desire S with Mfgr Warranty for 15K), and the Defy+, although Moto is very different to mod, compared to something like HTC. Its difficult to recommend the One V at this point of time, since no one knows how the dev community for this device will turn out to be.
LGE Google Nexus 4 16GB - AOSPA 4.5+ | NVidia Shield Tablet Wi-Fi 16GB - Stock
Device History -Nokia 5110 >> Nokia 8310 >> Nokia N-Gage QD >> Nokia 6681 >> Nokia N82 >> Nokia 5320 XM >> HTC Wildfire >> Samsung Galaxy SII