Say, you are on the lookout for a home. Say, you are willing to accept certain compromises in hopes of a financially favorable deal. Ever thought about noise pollution as a price-affecting factor?

It seems reasonable to think that the closer you live to an airport, the bigger the impact the constant jet-roar has on the value of your home. At Property Shark, we wanted to find out whether this assumption is true and turned our attention to the residential blocks surrounding John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia Airports in New York City. We started out by taking a look at which areas are affected and in what degree. Click below for our NYC Airport Noise Exposure map:

NYC airport noise map

This clever feature shows the average daily noise pollution that these two airports in Queens are responsible for and how it spreads across their surroundings. Keep in mind however that this is just one piece of the puzzle and doesn’t take other sources of noise into consideration.

On second thought, it doesn’t seem so simple, right? The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so let’s see if (and how) sound waves shape home values in the real world.

LaGuardia Airport

To see if our assumption was correct, we looked at the 9 neighborhoods surrounding LaGuardia Airport and the results were quite surprising.

How LaGuardia Airport Noise Affects Residential Sale Prices in the Area

In LaGuardia’s case only three neighborhoods – Woodside, Kew Gardens Hills and Clason Point – support the hypothesis, where the median price per square foot was actually lower in the noisier precincts. A homebuyer willing to sacrifice a little tranquility on the altar of cash could save over 35 bucks per square foot in Woodside. That’s plenty of money for extra soundproofing, if really necessary.

However, in the case of College Point and East Elmhurst one may start to hesitate. Can we really blame the difference in price on noise pollution? The whole idea becomes downright doubtful when we peek into the pricier areas. In Flushing and Ditmars, prices inside the noise exposure zone are significantly higher compared to the quieter blocks in the neighborhood.

Please note that townhouses may be more frequent in some areas than in others — and that aspect could also have a toll on median sale prices.

How LaGuardia Airport Noise Affects Residential Sale Prices in the Area

John F. Kennedy International Airport

Generalizing, however, would be a great mistake and nothing proves it better than the past six quarters’ statistics of the area surrounding John F. Kennedy International Airport, just on the opposite end of Queens.

How JFK Airport Noise Affects Residential Sale Prices in the Area

If LaGuardia’s stats killed the last rays of opportunism in you, think again. Arverne and Brookville perfectly refute every conclusion drawn above and if for some reason 43% doesn’t look like much of a difference at first glance, put it this way: you can save more than 65 dollars per square foot if you look just a few blocks down. Howard Beach can also have a surprise in store for a careful buyer. Despite its proximity to the noise source Rosedale can be considered quite unaffected — remember: this is median sale price per square foot we are talking about.

How JFK Airport Noise Affects Residential Sale Prices in the Area

Does airport noise take a toll on property values?

The stats show that noise pollution can have quite an effect on the real estate market, but the fact that agencies occasionally have a hard time marketing airport-area homes doesn’t necessarily mean this is a general rule. The microclimate often changes from neighborhood to neighborhood, let alone the contrast between separate parts of the same area. And if not the most influential of all factors, it is by all means something worth taking into consideration for buyers and sellers alike.


The analysis contains information from our database of sales closed between January 2013 and June 2014. We included single family homes as well as condo and co-op units that changed hands for more than $10,000. Transactions that include more than 3 properties were excluded from the samples.

“Noise Exposure Zone” includes properties inside the area affected by airport noise according to the map, whilst “Outside Noise Exposure Zone” refers to properties located within half a mile outwards from the 60 DB contour.

Balazs Szekely

Balazs Szekely

Balazs Szekely is a qualified journalist with extensive experience as a real estate writer for several Yardi publications, covering a wide range of market studies and real estate news. You can connect with Balazs via email.

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