What's a MAC Update?

Posted by Kris Lindahl on Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 at 7:22am.

Have you ever seen the words “MAC update” in a real estate listing? Isn’t it odd how real estate agents just assume everyone understands their jargon? To be fair, they’re including that information for the buyer’s real estate agent and leaving it up to him or her to explain the concept.

Ok, here we go: MAC stands for Metropolitan Airports Commission, home of the “Noise Program.” What this program does is ponder ways to reduce aircraft noise in the neighborhoods near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and what the MAC office calls their “six reliever airports.”


In the 1990s, MAC started a program to mitigate noise problems in the worst-hit neighborhoods – those right under the flight paths. They installed new windows and doors, wall and attic insulation and new air-conditioning units. These, my friend, are MAC updates. So, now when you see that in a listing you’ll know that the home was updated to try to mitigate the noise from the airport.

Thinking of buying near the airport?

MAC offers guidelines to folks that are considering a move to any of Minneapolis’ neighborhoods that may experience airport noise. They are common sense, really, but let’s take a look at some of them:

Stroll or drive through the neighborhood in the morning, late at night and over the weekend. These are the periods when the airport is busiest so you’ll have a good idea of how loud the planes are in that particular community.

While you’re strolling, talk to any of the neighbors you happen across. They’ll probably be happy to share their noise stories with you.

Check out the flight paths on the airport’s FlightTracker feature. You can find that online, here. When the weather changes, flight paths may too, but this will give you a general idea of which communities the planes typically fly over. Southwest Minneapolis typically experiences the bulk of the airport noise but it really depends on the neighborhood. Linden Hills’ residents, for instance, frequently file noise complaints.

Do you qualify for mitigation?

Although it sounds like something our forefathers may have drummed up, the Consent Decree First Amendment Program is actually the latest noise mitigation program that began in March 2014. It covers the cities of Minneapolis, Richfield and Eagan. The MAC makes their determination once a year based on what they call “noise contours” from the previous year. If you own a home in any of these three cities that is impacted by airport noise you may qualify for help. Search for your Minneapolis address on the list, here and here. Other phases will be announced in the future.


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