Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Saturday, March 24, 2012, 1:00 PM
Brick Underground published an article on smoking bans in buildings a few weeks ago that continues to have legs on it – it just appeared in AM New York as well.
I am not a smoker. I’m highly allergic to smoke and tobacco. A number of relatives of mine have died from lung cancer, second hand smoke and other smoking related illnesses. I wish people wouldn’t smoke (and better able to quit) so I struggle to be neutral in my view of it’s impact on property values.
My quote on the issue for the Brick Underground piece was:
“I am not aware of any compelling studies that provide empirical evidence proving a smoking ban impacts values one way or another,” said Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisal and consulting firm. “Personally, I would think such a ban would be slightly more of a help to values than a hindrance, since the number of smokers are on the decline — and the idea of selling the health benefits of a lack of secondhand smoke would be a plus.”
The policy momentum of our society has grown with the elimination of smoking on airplanes, public transportation, commercial buildings, public spaces and they all speak to the issue of invasiveness. Forcing non-smokers to breath something that has been shown to be unhealthy, even lethal, is no longer tolerated and anti-smoking public policy continues to expand.
So the issue as it relates to multi-family housing would seems to be the next shoe to drop with public policy. Perhaps that is already happening and I’m not aware of it.
Even though a smoker may own their residence and have the right to enjoy it as they see fit, the impact of their behavior moving outside their domicile (i.e. smoke permeating walls and air exchanges) would seem to be invasive and not their right.
With possibly one exception
Grandfathering. As an apartment homeowner, they may have had the right to smoke when the property was purchased and I don’t see how their bundle of rights as a property owner can be altered. They followed the rules and non-smokers who purchased during that era would be aware that there was no ban on smoking.
A new building that bans smoking from day one – that’s not a problem.
But back to the valuation issue. I think I see more potential downside to property values in the long run within buildings that allow smoking to new buyers than to a value upside in buildings that never allowed smoking from day one.
Admittedly I’m merely voicing a subjective opinion. I’m relying on the logic that societal norms will continue to move away from public smoking tolerance.
And that’s not a drag.