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Why McKinney, Texas is the Boomtown No One Expected

Here is a question to stump your friends: If the fastest growing city in Texas is not Houston, San Antonio, Dallas or Austin, which one is? The answer, as you might have guessed, is McKinney.

With an estimated population just south of 170,000, McKinney lacks the dynamic sprawl of larger Texan metros, but it closes the gap with its charm with big city features like employment options, a characteristic that merits recognition as one of the best places to live in Texas in 2017, according to CNN Money. The honor places it alongside other prosperous places like Katy, Texas. But to really get at what makes McKinney so special requires digging a little deeper.

A diverse housing selection

If you are going to move to a city, you better have a place to live, right? Thankfully, housing in McKinney is not a problem, as many affordable home builders are constructing communities in the area. Neighborhoods like Trinity Falls, named for its proximity to the Trinity River, are rapidly developing thanks in part to its ideal location to nearby employers (more on that later), shopping and dining.

Making area housing even more desirable is an average cost of living that comes in just under the national average. That means less spent on groceries, transportation and other must haves and more for adventuring in and outside of town. After all, Texas is a great state to explore.

Trinity Falls tx

Rise of larger employers

While McKinney has a steady small business ownership, it also is home to an unexpected number of larger companies. And with larger companies comes more employees.

International players like Raytheon, who specialize in technology for civil government, defense and a number of cyber security, provide thousands of local jobs. Other big employers include Wistron GreenTech, Torchmark, Emerson Process Management, Tong Yang, Simpson Strong-Tie, Tenant Tracker, Manner Plastics and Traxxas. Overall, the large concentration of influential companies puts McKinney on par with Dallas.

Beyond the positive numbers, though, the number of companies choosing to either headquarter or expand to McKinney provides the region with higher than expected economic stability, a fact reflected in its low employment rate and high upward mobility.

Those needing to commute to Dallas should not feel isolated, either. A 30-40 minute drive is all that separates McKinney from Dallas, a drive time comparable to other popular suburbs like The Woodlands or Conroe (both outside Houston).

Living the charmed life

What is life really like in McKinney? Well, ask anyone on the street and most will say the people, the history, access to quality education, the healthy economy, the multitude of festivals, or a combination of all the above.

In terms of sights, you do not have to look far to discover a historic downtown or a plethora of  hiking trails and picnic-friendly parks. The largely preserved downtown area harbors many excellent culinary and shopping opportunities; it is also a great location for an Instagram photo session, if you are into that kind of thing. Here is a hint: start at McKinney Square and keep walking until something catches your eye. Trust us, it will not take long.

This small-town environment is not uncommon in Texas, but you will be hardpressed to find comparable value in the Lone Star State’s more densely populated areas.

Thinking of moving or visiting McKinney? Share this post with friends and family and see what they have to say.