Frisco vs. Plano vs. McKinney

Frisco vs. Plano vs. McKinney: Where to Live?

There are a lot of communities that are attracting people to Texas right now, and three of the most popular are McKinney, Plano, and Frisco. They’re all close to one another and share some similarities. Whether you’re looking for McKinney new homes for sale or you’re interested in which will offer the easiest commute to Dallas, below we cover how the three compare to each other.

The Exodus to Texas

In 2021, Texas saw the largest population gain annually of any state. More than 170,000 relocated to Texas in 2021. U-Haul ranked it as the Leading Growth State for the year based on the number of one-way trucks coming across the border.

So what’s appealing about Texas?

One big factor is the cost of living. People moving from higher-cost states like California because they’re going to get a lot more for their money in Texas. Zillow data shows that a home, on average, costs around $282,726 in Texas, compared to more than $745,000 in California.

If someone’s moving to Texas and doesn’t want to buy, the monthly rents are also significantly lower than in some more expensive parts of the country.

For people from the Northeast, it can be the mild Texas winters that attract them. The summers are hot, but not having feet of snow on the ground could make up for it.

Texas is also the second-most diverse state in the country after California, and you see that everywhere as far as culture. Texas is also becoming a place to invest. There’s a lot of focus on infrastructure and innovation, with Elon Musk saying Austin for example will be the biggest boomtown in the U.S. in 50 years.

Austin’s leading the way in terms of new technology, and many other cities are as well.

That brings us to our question—if you’re going to move to Texas or relocate within the city, there are three suburbs that are often on everyone’s list. They are Frisco, Plano, and McKinney. All three are considered part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro, and they have some similarities but also some differences, which are talked about below.


McKinney is a city that’s in Collin County, Texas, after Plano and Frisco. It’s the third-largest city in Collin County. McKinney offers more affordable housing options and other perks, but it’s just about 30 miles north of Dallas.

McKinney is one of the country’s fastest-growing cities, and it’s consistently called one of the best places to live nationwide. It’s affordable relative to bigger cities and parts of Texas like Dallas and Austin, plus it has a lot of styles of housing and neighborhood options and good schools.

According to WalletHub, McKinney is one of the best places for first-time home buyers. Historic Downtown McKinney was established in 1848, and it’s a big attraction in the city. The crime rate is around 54% lower than the average for the nation, and the schools are excellent.

The economy is strong in McKinney, and some of the major employers in Collin County include Liberty Mutual, Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems, and Encore Wire.


Plano earns an A+ from Niche for livability. With a population of around 289,000, Plano is a decent-sized city. There are a lot of families and young professionals who live in the area, and public schools are highly rated.

The median home value is more than the national average but still, compared to a lot of places around the country, relatively affordable.

Plano is ranked by Niche as the number five best city to buy a house in America, number nine on the list of the best cities to live in America, and also number nine on the ranking of the cities with the best public schools in America.


A third nearby option is the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro in Frisco. For several years it was the fastest-growing city in the country, and a lot of people move to Frisco and commute to work in Dallas because of the lower cost of living.

In 2018, Frisco was ranked by Money Magazine as the best place to live in America.

Frisco is in both Collin and Denton County, and it’s around 25 miles from Dallas Love Field.

When compared to Plano, as far as the cost of living, Frisco is slightly more affordable. The average mortgage in Frisco is around $2,340 a month, and renters pay around $1,529 per month. Both numbers are above the national average, but the property tax rates are among the lowest in Texas.

The crime rate is around 54% lower than the rest of Texas and 48% less than the national average.

Frisco is home to the Dallas Cowboys practice facility, the Ford Center. There are four major stadiums in Frisco, and there’s a big emphasis on professional and college sports.

How Do the Three Compare?

When comparing these three similar but also distinct cities from one another, one difference is that many people say that McKinney tends to feel the most like a small town. This could be due to the presence of the charming and historic downtown.

Frisco is newer, so if someone wants a new construction home, then they might find more options here across all price ranges. Since everything in Frisco is fairly new, then you don’t get the charm of McKinney. The commute to DFW can be a little shorter from Frisco, but you might also have to trade that with potential airport noise.

Plano is more established and built out and has been for a while, so the lots for the homes tend to be larger, but there’s also less new construction. Plano has access to the light rail system (DART), so you can go all the way to downtown Dallas on this.

McKinney is an interesting mix of old and new. It does have the longest history of the three, thus the downtown, so there are some beautiful old homes in the area, but there are also new construction options because there’s been a lot of expansion.

Some people feel that in their experience, Plano is cheaper than the other options, or at least cheaper than Frisco. McKinney is farther to the north, which could impact commuters. Frisco is almost as far north as McKinney.

Most people who live in any one of these three communities will tell you it would be hard to go wrong calling any of them home.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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