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Living Near An Airport: Pros And Cons Of Buying A House Under A Flight Path

Victoria Araj4-minute read
September 08, 2021

So, you’ve started the home buying process, and you might’ve just found the perfect home to call yours. Really, this house checks all your boxes – except it’s located right near an airport.

While this might feel discouraging at first, you may still be interested in looking around the neighborhood. Before you immediately ask your real estate agent to search for something new, you should consider the realities of buying a house near an airport from all angles. Let’s take a look at those now.

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The Disadvantages Of Living Next To An Airport

When living near an airport, certain concerns may arise. The main concern is the possibility of health issues, but you may also encounter some unpleasant noises and smells. While these are just some of the potential disadvantages of living near an airport, you should make sure you do all the research necessary before signing on the dotted line.

Living Near An Airport May Raise Health Concerns

A 2015 study on airports, air pollution and contemporaneous health found that living near an airport may cause illness. The pollution that nearby aircrafts produce is a hazard that in large quantities can lead to cardiovascular problems and even different types of heart disease, such as hypertension (or high blood pressure), a heart attack or cardiac arrest.

Ozone, a byproduct of the engines has been linked to respiratory tissue damage, which in turn can result in coughing, tightness in the chest, throat irritation and other respiratory problems. If you’re asthmatic, this inflammation can lead to higher chances of an asthma attack.

Emission from the aircraft can also contain soot. If you breathe this polluted air constantly, it can lead to problems such as asthma, lung cancer, chronic lung disease and even depression.

Although researchers are still trying to understand the true health impact of airports versus other sources of pollution such as freeways and factories, it’s still important to understand all the possible outcomes if you’re considering purchasing a property near an airport or a house under a flight path. Especially in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, you’re likely already invested in what makes a home healthy internally – so now you may want to think about your external environment as well.

Noise Pollution Can Be Problematic

If you’re someone who gets annoyed by loud noises, living near an airport may not be the right option for you. Unfortunately, you can’t eliminate aircraft noise, but you can minimize it.

Consider installing thicker soundproof windows or soundproofing your walls or ceiling to help minimize sky-high decibel counts. You might also find that using ear plugs makes living near a major airport more bearable. And you can always check the noise exposure maps on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website to determine if a neighborhood by an airport experiences high levels of noise.

Airline companies have also made an effort to build less noisy turbines due to noise requirements, so with time, airplanes might even be quieter. The sounds of takeoff or landing may be annoying to you now, but air traffic noise could be less of a nuisance in just a few short years. Consider asking yourself if you have the patience to wait this out.

Airplane Odor Can Be Bothersome

To some people, airplane odor isn’t an issue. To others, though, the smell of burning jet fuel can be quite unpleasant. Airplane odor can also cause constant headaches and using air fresheners or perfume won’t exactly help the cause. Most times, trying to mask the odor will only make it worse.

If you live by an airport, the chances of you experiencing this lingering odor – or other air-quality issues – is high. Before pursuing the home, you should consider how sensitive you are to the distinct smell of jet fuel vapors.

If you’re unsure what this odor smells like, maybe look into the area’s flight patterns and try to visit the area during peak air travel time. You might catch a whiff and know that you just couldn’t handle it long term or you may barely notice it.

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The Few Advantages Of Living By An Airport

Clearly, living near an airport has many disadvantages that are important to consider before purchasing a property. If the cons haven’t deterred you though, you’ll want to hear about the advantages of this living situation. Let’s look at the few upsides to buying real estate near an airport.

You’re In Favor During Emergency Situations

No one likes power outages. You don’t know when your power will be restored, and the wait can sometimes feel like forever – especially if you’re in the middle of doing something that requires power. You’re in luck if you live by an airport, though, because in the event of a city-wide outage, your power will be the last to drop and the first to be restored.

In such worst-case scenarios as terrorist attacks, natural disasters and family emergencies, you also have an advantage: being able to get out of the area more quickly than others.

Being Close To An Airport Means Less Travel Time

The most obvious perk of living right near an airport – if you’re lucky, an international airport – is the convenience of proximity. Whether you need to get somewhere quickly or hate sitting in traffic, odds are that you won’t need to wait too long because of how fast the traffic disperses.

You also don’t have to worry about getting to the airport early when going on a trip, because you know you’ll be there within a matter of minutes.

The Bottom Line: Consider All The Facts Before Buying Property Near An Airport

Now that you know about some of the realities that come with living near an airport, you should have a better idea of whether it’s a path you want to pursue. When living in any residential area, you’ll always have reasons to move and not to move – so it’s better to know beforehand what you might be getting yourself into.

The plus side of living near an airport? You can travel much more quickly and efficiently. On the other hand, you’ll need to consider some sensory annoyances and, more pressingly, a few heightened health risks before making this move.

As always, it’s important to do your research, talk with some people in the neighborhood you’re interested in and work with a real estate agent who can help you through your home buying journey. For more tips on buying a house, visit the Home Buyer’s Guide from Rocket HomesSM.

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Victoria Araj

Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.