Any increase in airport operations or development, with increased flight movements, tends to be an issue in major cities and towns. Whenever such proposals are first advertised there is usually an increased public backlash based on a number of issues such as impact on lifestyle, health as well as the premise that they believe that the value of their residential properties will decrease and it will become more difficult to sell their properties.

Since the early 1970s there have been an increasing number of academic research papers demonstrating that aircraft noise reduces residential property values. At the same time there have also been a number of popular media reports that state value features such as proximity to the CBD, good transport links, access to good schools and services are more important than the location of the house under a flight path or close to an airport. This is particularly the case in very high density cities, with airports close to the major business centres.

This study compares median and average house prices over the period 1988 to 2013; across 36 suburbs of Brisbane to assess the long term impact of aircraft noise on residential property capital growth and volatility. These suburbs cover locations directly under the existing flight paths, areas of differing levels of noise complaints and locations not under flight paths nor subject to aircraft noise complaints. All sales transactions for these suburbs have been analysed to determine if there is any impact of aircraft noise on the long term investment performance of the Brisbane residential property market.

Results show that suburbs under flight paths in Brisbane, Australia subject to aircraft noise on a long term capital gain basis have performed equally, if not better, than less or not affected locations in Brisbane based. On average annual capital returns and risk/return ratios for a range of suburbs from high socio-economic status to low middle socio-economic status have performed at similar levels regardless of location under flight paths. The movement in sales volume from year to year has also been very similar indicating that affected locations do not always result in reduced sales volume activity.