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Nicholas Kyriacopoulos: How to Make Your Home Cozy in Canada

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As someone who knows a bit about planning communities and constructing housing units, Nicholas Kyriacopoulos has seen what people can do with their spaces. The fact that he’s grew up being exposed to the cultural wonders found in Montreal also provide some insight into how to make a dwelling into a true home. If you’re wondering how to take a rental unit, a house, or any other type of dwelling truly cozy, look closely at some of these recommendations. You’re sure to find that one or two from Nicholas Kyriacopoulos will help.

 

Walk Around the Area For Some Inspiration

As a child, Nicholas Kyriacopoulos had the opportunity to walk around town and be exposed to some of the best examples of French, European, and British architecture. From building facades to stately courtyards to beautiful cafes, that setting provided all sorts of ideas about how to create spaces that were functional as well as inviting.

You can do the same thing by drawing inspiration from what’s in your area. Spend some time walking around and see what sort of ideas come to mind. Use the notes feature on your phone or carry a small notebook and pen with you on those adventures. Jot down notes about colours, textures, and other elements that you think might work in your space. As Nicholas Kyriacopoulos would later do, what you see now could be the foundation for a great idea later on.

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And Draw on Your Heritage

Along with what’s around you, consider drawing on what went before you. Young Nicholas Kyriacopoulos was able to draw on Grecian and Jewish influences thanks to the backgrounds of their parents. The lessons they taught proved invaluable later in life. Doubtless they also taught him a few things about elements to make spaces into homes.

You can do the same. Delve into the heritage that has been passed on from your parents. There may be elements there that provide clues on how to arrange your space and what to include in it. The result will be something that’s truly yours, just as the structures that Nicholas Kyriacopoulos created are truly his.

 

Invest in Plants That Are Easy to Grow

As Nicholas Kyriacopoulos knows well, greenery indoors is both functional and attractive. Bringing a little of the outside into the home provides a sense of life. The right plants also help to keep the air a little cleaner.

If you aren’t lucky with plants, don’t worry. There are varieties out there that thrive when they’re left alone except for a little water once a week. Place them carefully based on what they need to grow. You’ll find, as did Nicholas Kyriacopoulos, that the effort pays off in more than one way.

 

Find or Create Wall Art That Suits You

As someone who appreciates art, Nicholas Kyriacopoulos learned early on that it comes in many different forms. One of the simplest to include in any home decor is wall art. You can find pieces that help to introduce colour and set the mood for each room.

Remember that if you can’t find what you like, there’s no rule that says you can’t create your own. Feel free to invest in a canvas and some paints in the colours that you want. As Nicholas Kyriacopoulos would remind you, something that’s just right could emerge from your efforts.

 

Try Something New With the Window Treatments

Window treatments don’t have to be the same old thing. Experimentation is the parent of creativity, something Nicholas Kyriacopoulos points out often. Consider treatments like shelves over the windows that you use to display some of your treasures. Consider a valance that’s made of hanging green plants.

The goal is to come up with something that is fun to look at and allows natural light into the space. If your home is like many of those designed by Nicholas Kyriacopoulos, windows are plentiful. Have fun with them.

 

Lighting Makes a Difference

Lighting also goes into making any space into a home. It’s not just overhead light that’s helpful in certain areas of the house. Nicholas Kyriacopoulos often uses recessed lighting or lamp light to create moods in different rooms. Imagine how subdued light in your bedroom helps to make it more inviting.

Experiment with different lighting options and see what you think. The right mix will add something to common spaces as well as personal ones. You can be sure that Nicholas Kyriacopoulos would agree that if low lamp light makes you happy, it’s the right choice.

 

Give Area Rugs a Try

Area rugs add texture and a splash of colour to any space. Whether you have hardwood flooring or wall to wall carpeting, using an area rug is possible. In fact, it may be one of the most practical things you could do, according to Nicholas Kyriacopoulos.

Area rugs help to define functions within a room. Use it to anchor a conversation area within a living room. It can also be used to enhance a reading nook in a bedroom. Draw on the other colours used in the space and choose the rug accordingly. As Nicholas Kyriacopoulos will point out, the rug adds another hint of coziness while visually unifying the space.

 

Accent Walls Help Too

Nicholas Kyriacopoulos would tell you that there’s no need to paint in order to create an accent wall. Patterned flat bed sheets soaked in starch and stretched flat on a wall will do the trick. When you’re ready to move, peel them off and wash the wall.

As with the area rugs, draw on secondary colours within the room to choose the sheet pattern. As Nicholas Kyriacopoulos will point out, that helps to further create a unified look.

Avoid Creating Too Much Clutter

While you want to personalize the space, do avoid clutter. As Nicholas Kyriacopoulos often says, not every surface has to be laden with belongings. Have areas of each room that are somewhat open. This approach as practised by Nicholas Kyriacopoulos and others, actually makes your other items stand out a little more.

 

Remember That It’s Your Space

When it comes to creating comfortable spaces, you’re not in competition with anyone. Nicholas Kyriacopoulos would tell you to go with your gut feeling and arrange things to suit yourself. If someone else things a certain chair design or placing a bookcase along a particular wall would be great, be open to the idea. Just remember that you make the final decision. In doing so, you will find that the space truly feels like yours.

One doesn’t construct hundreds with housing units and interact with people from a number of backgrounds without learning a thing or two about home decorating. Thanks to the experiences of Nicholas Kyriacopoulos you can draw on these ideas and see how they work in your space. Who knows? Some of these suggestions may lead to a few ideas of your own that pair nicely with what you’ve learned from Nicholas Kyriacopoulos and create space that’s cozy, comfortable, inviting, and all the other qualities that you want.

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Los Angeles Approves Tax Increase on Real Estate Deals Over $5 Million

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(Bloomberg) — Los Angeles voters approved a tax on the sale of mansions and other multimillion-dollar real estate transactions to raise money for affordable housing in the second-largest US city.

The measure, known as Proposition ULA, boosts the one-time transfer tax to 4% for property deals between $5 million and $10 million, and 5.5% for transactions of $10 million and above. The current rate on all sales is 0.45%. The increase takes effect on April 1, and will raise an estimated $600 million to $1.1 billion a year.

The ballot measure received support from almost 58% of voters, according to certified results released late Monday by Los Angeles County officials.

Los Angeles faces worsening wealth inequality that several ballot initiatives have failed to quell. While mansions in tony Beverly Hills and Bel Air sometimes sell for more than $100 million, roughly 42,000 people sleep on the city’s streets, inside cars or temporary shelters each night — up about 2% since the pandemic hit.

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Los Angeles County residents need 120% of the area median income to rent a typical two-bedroom apartment, according to a report this month by the California Housing Partnership. That’s the highest rent-to-income ratio of any county in the state.

Creating affordable housing and reducing homelessness are top priorities for Mayor-elect Karen Bass, who takes office Dec. 12 and has promised to declare a homelessness emergency on her first day. Despite that, neither Bass nor her opponent in the mayor’s race, billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso, supported Proposition ULA.

The tax increase would affect about 4% of real estate deals annually in Los Angeles, with 72% of its revenue coming from properties that sell for more than $10 million, according to an analysis by the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies.

The measure was backed by trade unions and housing advocates, including advocacy group United to House LA, the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Critics argued the transfer tax could make housing, including rental units, less affordable due to the potential higher buying costs for landlords.

In 2016, LA city taxpayers approved Measure HHH, a $1.2 billion bond measure to finance more than 10,000 housing units for the homeless. The measure has so far financed 3,420 completed units and 5,446 homes are under construction, according to the Los Angeles Housing Department.

Proposition ULA will dedicate 70% of funding for affordable housing projects and the rest to homelessness prevention.

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Is The Real Estate Market Slowing Down Due To Mortgage Rates?

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Key Takeaways

  • Mortgage rates have nearly tripled since this time a year ago.
  • However, housing prices have continued to rise, making new mortgages unaffordable.
  • Overall, the result is a 41% decline in new loan applications year-over-year.

Over the past year, rising inflation and the Fed boosting interest rates in response have caused turmoil in the housing market. Little more than a year ago, mortgage rates were near record lows. Now, they are around 7%, two to three times higher.

While some markets have seen housing prices fall in response, in most cases, the drop hasn’t been sufficient to keep mortgage payments for new purchases similar. All of this has resulted in higher housing costs for buyers.

We’ll cover what you need to know about mortgage trends for the month and where things might go in the next year.

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Background

The COVID-19 pandemic shocked the economy as millions lost their jobs and activity quickly ground down to a halt. The government responded with a combination of stimulus payments and lowered interest rates.

During the pandemic, mortgage rates hit all-time lows, reaching 2.65% in January 2021.

As the country exited the COVID recession and pandemic restrictions eased, inflation began to rise due to factors such as a tight labor market and supply chain issues. Inflation peaked in June 2022 at 9.1%.

In response, the Federal Reserve has boosted its benchmark interest rate to 3.75% to 4% from 0% earlier this year. This has caused mortgage rates to spike.

Mortgage Demand

As interest rates rise, monthly loan payments become more expensive and less affordable without a commensurate drop in housing prices, which has not materialized in many markets.

Mortgage demand has declined in 2022. Applications for new loans have dropped by roughly 41% since one year ago, and refinancing applications are down more than 86%.

December appears to show a continuation of that trend. The last week of November saw a 0.8% reduction in mortgage applications compared to the week prior. December is traditionally a slow month for home sales, exacerbating the issue most likely.

Rates

Outside of economic uncertainty and concerns about an oncoming recession, the massive increase in mortgage rates is one of the top reasons mortgage demand has dropped.

Interest rates reached a low of 2.65% in early 2021 and remained relatively low for an extended period, hovering between 2.75% and 3.25% for about a year.

As inflation rose, the Federal Reserve responded by raising its benchmark rates, which increased home loan rates. For the week of December 1st, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the U.S. was 6.49%.

This is far below historic highs, which reached over 18% back in the early 1980s. However, the last time rates exceeded 6% was in 2008, meaning these rates have not been seen for almost 15 years.

The impact that rate increases have on housing prices is immense.

Imagine you have a thirty-year mortgage with a balance of $250,000. At an interest rate of 2.5%, you’d pay $988 each month for a total of $355,680. Overall, you’d pay over $105,000 in interest.

At an interest rate of 7.5%, your monthly payment balloons to $1,748. That means a total loan payment of $629,280 that includes more than $375,000 in interest over the life of the loan.

Today, families need to afford a monthly payment roughly double what they needed a year ago to afford a home of the same price.

Home Prices

In general, as interest rates rise, house prices tend to fall. This can soften the blow of higher rates forcing higher loan payments on new buyers.

Unfortunately, price reductions have yet to materialize for homebuyers as home prices have risen through 2022.

In the first quarter of 2022, the average home sold for $514,100. In Q3, the average home sold for $542,900. This roughly 5% increase is less than inflation, meaning housing got slightly cheaper.

However, many people have not seen wage increases in line with inflation, meaning affordability has not improved.

Renters are also feeling the burden, with rents up 7.8% year-over-year. This means that everyone who still needs to get their rate locked in is dealing with less affordable housing than a year ago.

Is it a good time to buy or sell?

If you own a home and want to sell it or you are looking to buy a home, you might wonder whether now is the right time. The answer is that nobody really knows.

The Federal Reserve has boosted interest rates in response to rising inflation. The Fed may continue on this path by pushing rates even higher, or it may ease off the accelerator if inflation starts to fall.

It’s also uncertain whether housing prices can continue to increase at their current clip. Many major banks and real estate firms are predicting falling prices over the next year. The decline in mortgage applications indicates less demand, which may force price reductions.

If you’re trying to buy, you’re gambling that the Fed will stop boosting rates or that reduced demand from buyers will force motivated sellers to slash home prices.

However, if you’re on the other side of the equation, you’re likely hoping the Fed will stop increasing interest rates, making the mortgage payments on more expensive homes more affordable.

You also have to hope that fears of a recession don’t become true, leading to fewer potential buyers for your home.

Bottom Line

Buying a home is an essential part of the American Dream. Understandably, it feels out of reach for many of us right now. Recent increases in interest rates, with little change in housing prices, have put this out of reach for man. The fall in mortgage applications illustrates that.

For investors, tracking the real estate market is essential. Even if you’re not looking to buy a house, a weakening real estate market can give you an excellent opportunity to purchase land-focused investments at a discount.

If you are trying to buy a house, you need to monitor home affordability and keep your other investments liquid enough to make a down payment on short notice.

Q.ai takes the guesswork out of investing, while keeping your assets relatively liquid. Until you’re ready to make your purchase, our artificial intelligence will scour the markets for the best investments for all manner of risk tolerances and economic situations. We also diversify your investments by bundling them up in Investment Kits that make investing both simple and strategic.

Best of all, you can activate Portfolio Protection at any time to protect your gains and reduce your losses, no matter what industry you invest in.

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Big real estate companies face cybersecurity gaps

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Despite the fact that most Canadian real estate companies now build smart tech into their buildings to monitor, manage, and maintain many functions, such as heating, lighting, elevators, power meters and fire alarm systems, very few have invested to ensure these systems can’t be hacked, finds new research from KPMG in Canada.

A survey of 17 of Canada’s biggest publicly traded and privately owned real estate organizations, representing more than $160 billion in real estate assets, found that nearly 80 per cent of Canadian real estate companies do not proactively monitor their operational-technology (OT) network or devices for cybersecurity threats or vulnerabilities.

Half (50 per cent) do not have an inventory of their OT assets and about a quarter (22 per cent) have an inventory that’s incomplete or not updated regularly, the research found. Patches – a key control to resolve new vulnerability – are rarely done and usually in ad hoc manner.

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“Smart or intelligent building technology is commonplace in the industry today and holds many benefits, but it also comes with risks that could result in significant health and safety issues,” says Tom Rothfischer, Partner and National Industry Leader for KPMG in Canada’s Building, Construction, and Real Estate practice. “It is critical that these measures are built into their systems right up front. But the reality is that most companies now find they are playing catch-up to seal the security gaps.”

The research found that most real estate companies have a cybersecurity program with the majority having very small in-house teams responsible for key cybersecurity activities. However, their roles and responsibilities aren’t clearly defined. And, while the board is regularly informed on the organization’s information-technology posture (that is, the ability to predict, prevent, and respond to cyber threats or attacks), they are not kept up to date on the OT posture. Only about 10 per cent of the companies report on their OT security posture or OT readiness.

The survey did find that the majority (83 per cent) have segregated their information- and operational-technology networks, reducing the risk of cyber attackers moving between networks.

“This is an important first step, but it can’t be the only step,” says KPMG’s John Heaton, a cybersecurity partner. “OT and IT networks typically do not have the same protection mechanisms. As well, many OT devices run on older versions of software that are no longer supported.

“The last thing you want is for attackers to infiltrate and insert malicious code into your systems to modify or take over the controls and cause a malfunction,” he says.

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