New York’s JFK Airport is, according to the International Air Transport Association, no longer among the world’s 20 busiest airports. The reason, the ATA speculated, is likely “explosive growth of Asian airports” in New Delhi, India, and Guangzhou, China. Both locations’ airports recently entered the top 20. Atlanta, Georgia’s Hartsfield-Jackson International retained its spot as the busiest passenger airport in the country, however, and Chicago’s O’Hare International, Dallas/Fort Worth International, and Denver International airports also remained in the top 20, as did LAX, which is fourth behind Hartsfield-Jackson, Beijing Capital International, and Dubai International.

Although many homeowners immediately shy away from the notion of owning a home near an airport, a thriving airport is a prime economic driver for the real estate markets around it. Although most investors steer clear of neighborhoods so close to an airport as to come with noise pollution warnings or unusual zoning issues, commutable markets within 30 to 60 minutes of an airport may be ideal locations for rental properties. In the Atlanta area, for example, Clayton County, one of the top-grossing rental markets in the country in several recent years, benefited from an influx of Delta Airlines employees and other airport workers seeking close proximity to their jobs.

Investor Insight: Buying in proximity to major employers (and, specifically, high-traffic airports) is a time-tested strategy in real estate, but it is always important to track the health of those employers. In the case of JFK, its position is still strong.

Should investors start steering clear of the JFK-related rental market? Probably not. JFK is still one of the biggest and busiest airports in the United States, although it is also known for high levels of delays thanks to the more than 47 million passengers passing through the gates each year. The airport’s impact on the local job market and real estate values in the area are unlikely to fall simply because the airport is relatively “smaller” than other international airports elsewhere in the world.

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  • Carole VanSickle Ellis

    Carole VanSickle Ellis serves as the news editor and COO of Self-Directed Investor (SDI) Society, a membership organization dedicated to the needs of self-directed investors interested in alternative investment vehicles, including real estate. Learn more at or reach Carole directly by emailing

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