McKinney is Money, Baby: Collin County Burb Listed as Top Place to Live

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Historic downtown McKinney is full of character and tons of cute houses. It's one of the reasons "Money" magazine chose this Collin County suburb as the No. 1 place to live in America for 2014.
Historic downtown McKinney is full of character and tons of cute houses. It’s one of the reasons “Money” magazine chose this Collin County suburb as the No. 1 place to live in America for 2014.

Well, the good news keeps pouring in for Collin County. First Allen is named one of the safest places to live in Texas, and now McKinney is named the best place to live by Money magazine.

With jobs, shopping, excellent schools, and the cutest historic downtown, McKinney has a lot of the things American families are looking for, according to Money.

Best Place To Live graphic

Underlying McKinney’s homey Southern charm is a thoroughly modern city. The area is a hotbed for growth-industry jobs. Ray­theon recently brought a 3,600-employee division to town, and companies in green energy, aviation, and medical services have also moved to the region. Next up: a Sheraton hotel and conference center opening in February. Other Fortune 500 companies are a 15- to 45-minute commute away.

Career and college prep are big in McKinney’s schools. AP courses start in middle school, and high schoolers can get internships in a range of industries. Technology is central; grade schoolers get lessons on wired smartboards, and starting in January, every high school freshman will be issued a MacBook Air laptop.

The historic downtown houses a mix of art galleries, boutiques, and farm-to-table restaurants, as well as basics like a butcher, shoe repair, and farm-supplies stores. Mark Strange, 41, who relocated from California two years ago for his job at Fossil, an accessories manufacturer, says that living downtown was a no-brainer for him, his wife, Patrizia Montanari, and their two young children. “It’s a mix of European, East Coast, and West Coast here,” adds Mon­tan­ari, 36, a photographer. “You get culture and more country charm for less money than what you’d find in Dallas.”

It’s definitely true that, for the most part, you get more home and the feel of suburban community for your money in McKinney. Of course, if you’re commuting to Dallas, you’ll want to invest in a TollTag. Still, housing in McKinney is truly the cream of the crop, with great homes available near schools and shopping starting in the $200s.

There are higher-priced, amenity laden homes like this one from Ebby Realtor Kathryn Niesman at 1408 Timarron Lane. It’s inside the Brookside neighborhood within Winding Creek and has five bedrooms, five full and two half baths, 4,874 square feet, and a beautiful pool with stone waterfall. It will set you back $675,000.

1408 Timarron Front 1408 Timarron Dining 1408 Timarron Office 1408 Timarron Living 1408 Timarron Kitchen 1408 Timarron Master 1408 Timarron Master bath 1408 Timarron Media 1408 Timarron Balcony 1408 Timarron Back

That’s not bad at all considering what you get, including the amazing schools in the area. In all, McKinney has tons of value with both new homes and historic properties shining bright.

“We have always believed McKinney is among the very best places to live in the country – if not THE best. It is incredibly rare for a city to consistently rank in the top 15 on this list, and to move from #14 to #5 to #2 and now all the way to the top of the list is an honor for our community, and we thank Money Magazine for the recognition,” said McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller. “We remain dedicated to providing residents and businesses with the best service for the best value in hopes our efforts make a difference in the lives of those who choose to call McKinney home.”

Keep that up and you’ll stay ranked with the best, McKinney!

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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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