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How does a new airport contribute to the local real estate market?

Author: Jennifer Mackay/Jessie Cochran

In my market area of Panama City Florida we are in the process of obtaining a new international airport. After many long years of debate, lawsuits and plenty of wasted tax payer money the Panama City - Bay County International Airport is approximately less then one year away from completion.

While there currently is a so called international airport in the area, it seems the runways are outdated and too short to land today’s larger commercial aircraft. Since the land area where the current airport exists is unable to support growth, it was decided that a new international airport be constructed at an alternative location.

This new modern international airport would provide a long term opportunity to bring our community into the 21st century and help our local economy to prosper and grow.

Aside from all the contention the new airport has had on the local economy and residents, I believe many residents and business owners have overlooked the positive aspects of what the airport will do and offer to our local economy and community as a whole.

Of course there are the obvious positive aspects of having a new international airport such as new temporary jobs in Construction.

But what about the long term impact on the commercial and residential real estate markets and the local economy?

This new airport, being one of the first built in the United States since the tragedy of 9/11 is also being constructed as a “green” airport. Its location is uniquely centralized which offers the only such airport for hundreds of miles.

First, let’s look at some of the more obvious benefits and impacts on the local economy:


Being located on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, one of our areas primary means of supporting the local economy is tourism. Naturally one would consider a new modern airport would bring an influx of new tourism and service oriented capital to the economy.

Since one of our primary local industries is tourism, having a central aviation and transportation hub in our area should impact that industry extensively. Having the ability to fly directly into our area without layovers and transfers affords tourists a more direct and therefore more economic means of arriving at our destination.

The need for service industry personnel then would increase, which in turn would translate into additional, necessary long term residential rental opportunities. We should see a rise in the apartment complex construction industry. A rise in this demographic would also increase the requirement for additional grocery and retail outlets.


As the tourist industry increases, the need for additional entertainment venues also increases. Family and adult entertainment venues such as movie theatres, theme parks, shopping plazas, night clubs, restaurants all offer new opportunities in the commercial real estate market.


The manufacturing industry relies heavily on the transportation industry to bring their goods to distributors and resellers. Having this new modern airport then offers the local government the ability to market our area to the manufacturing community.

This opens up a significant new opportunity to bring in not only manufacturing jobs but also executive and management level job opportunities. By offering tax incentives and land grants to the manufacturing industry, opens up the land sales market for residential and industrial commercial development opportunities.

Distribution and wholesale

With or without new manufacturing opportunities, the whole sale goods distribution industry is also a favorable opportunity. Having the ability to distribute goods more economically, offers these distributors a centrally located hub for their efforts. Again we would see additional opportunities for residential and commercial real estate markets to service a new demographic currently not available.

Corporate hubs

An often overlooked aspect is the ability to locate a corporate headquarters near international airports. While there may be increased branches of corporations the key is obtaining corporate headquarters.

Corporate branches may open and close in short term due to economical swings, but Corporation headquarters tend to be permanent sources which extend outward to other areas. This then provides communities with long term prospects for all levels of demographics.


Increased population also requires additional medical support. Hospitals, clinics and emergency programs are needed to provide a safe and healthy population. Within the medical industry reside the support and maintenance personnel, doctors, nurses and administrative staff. Once again we see additional real estate opportunities in both the residential and commercial sectors to provide housing, office and research structures to this industry.

Technology sector

With many of these new industries come the industries in which they all rely: Technology. The technology industry which supports the manufacturing and corporate entities brings additional prospects to the community. Not only in increased employment but also in the ability to retain college and technically educated local individuals who may otherwise relocate out of an area in search for their employment.

With technology comes the ability for research and development centers which translates into additional residential and commercial real estate needs.

The Airport

Let’s not forget about the new airports need for Aircraft maintenance personnel or the ability to offer additional services such as aircraft rental and charter services. Internal support personnel would increase in terms of ticketing, baggage handling, and taxi and shuttle services.

Ability to generate local economy income

These opportunities, aside from the additional obvious job implications also generate additional taxable incomes, increased income from property taxes (not to be confused with increased property taxation) additional sales tax revenue which all add to the growth and prosperity of the local economy.


Interestingly enough, through the increased revenue generated by taxes, the local government would be able to fund local infrastructure projects to support these new opportunities.

New roads, utility pipelines for electrical, gas, waste and water distribution methods are all needed to support the growing residential and commercial populations.

The need for more schools for all levels of education would increase and be fundable by the local government and this increased tax revenue. In turn this adds to additional educational employment opportunities for teachers, educators and administrators as well as maintenance and support personnel.

New and existing community programs would have an opportunity for funding through the increased tax revenue being generated. Additional Law enforcement would be needed, an air surveillance and enforcement department may be established.


All of these opportunities equate to the obvious – more jobs. Not only will employment opportunities in the low income sectors increase but also in the mid and executive level demographic sectors.

More jobs = more people, more people = more entrepreneurial opportunities from small to medium size businesses as well as large corporations. People relocating to the area require places to live thereby creating more opportunities in the residential real estate market.

More entrepreneurs mean more strip malls, additional retail outlets for the commercial real estate market.

The negatives

Aside from these many positive aspects a new airport has on a community, of course there are additional negative aspects which must be managed. The increased traffic, pollution, crime which may be expect to occur, while negative aspects in themselves also offer new opportunities in having to manage them. Again this equates to additional employment and real estate opportunities.


The affect of an airport on the local economy has both direct and indirect opportunities in the local real estate market.

The many new employment and business opportunities all require the services and expertise of the local real estate industry both residential and commercial.

Office and professional buildings, research centers, retail outlets, residential apartment complexes new housing developments all rely on the ability for the local real estate professional to provide key services and expertise.

When the airport comes to town, both the residential and commercial real estate investment markets are poised to prosper and grow along with and as a significant part the community.

You can always obtain more information by contacting me directly at 850-774-6582 and I'll help you with the details.

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Jennifer Mackay REALTOR®
Keller Williams Success Realty
2110 W. 23rd Street, Suite A. Panama City Fl 32405
Direct: (850) 774-6582
Office: (850) 392-1700
Fax: (850) 522-3697
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