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Fall 2011 Trends in Mortgage Lending

by The Cincinnati Team

Lending and Buying Trends                             

Mortgage backer Freddie Mac reported that mortgage interest rates fell to a record low in September. The average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate loan dropped to 4.11 percent in September, down from 4.27 percent in August.  September's rate was almost a quarter point below 2010 interest levels when similar mortgage loans were offered at 4.35 percent.

Despite the low interest rates, contract failures remain double of what they were just last year. Contract failures - caused by issues with credit, loan underwriting, or appraisal - reached 18 percent in August and September. NAR President Ron Phipps would like to see more access to credit.  "All year we’ve been discussing the fact that many credit worthy home buyers are being denied mortgages,” he said. "We need to remove the roadblocks to a housing recovery."

Investors accounted for 19 percent of September transactions down slight from 22 percent in August.  First-time buyers represented 32 percent of existing-home purchasers, while repeat buyers made up the balance. 

University of Cincinnati Continues Record-Breaking Enrollment

by The Cincinnati Team

UC Continues Record-Breaking Enrollment                 

UC is expecting as many as 43,000 students, up 3.4 percent from last year’s record-breaking enrollment,  with an academically prepared Uptown freshman class that meets UC standards to build retention and graduation rates.

UC is welcoming 45 incoming freshman National Merit finalists, tying the record number entering as freshmen last fall. UC will have a record overall number of 157 National Merit finalists enrolled this fall as the university continues to strive toward a target goal of enrolling 200 National Merit finalists as part of the UC2019 Strategic Plan.

Enrollment of undergraduate and graduate international students is up more than 9 percent from last fall, and UC’s graduate student enrollment is expected to be 8.8 percent higher than 2010.

Plan to Visit the Zoo's Festival of Lights

by The Cincinnati Team

PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo - Opens November 23

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden brings back its popular PNC Festival of Lights again this year.  Opening for members only on November 23rd, Nick Lachey and Ciara Bravo will help Santa light the tree to kick off the event. Over 2 million LED lights will be all over the zoo's grounds nightly from 5-9 pm.

The Madcap Puppet Theater will be presenting shows three times nightly.  Children will love Lollipop Lane, Gingerbread Village, Candy Cane Forest, and Twinkle Trail.  They will enjoy searching for the five hidden fairies in Fairyland.  You may all want to relax for a minute and take it all in as you tour the Zoo on the Train Ride.  Throughout, you'll find costumed and rappin' elves.  Best of all, come face-to-face with real reindeer.

Plan to have snacks or dinner while you are there.  Skyline Chili and LaRosa's will be set up in addition to the Zoo's own restaurants.  Sample funnel cake (my favorite), I.B.Back Fudge, as well as beer, hot chocolate and signature coffees.  The craft shop will be open nightly.

Drop off a new, unwrapped toy for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati during the first weekend as the toys benefit underprivileged children of our area.

Balluminaria 2011 in Cincinnati

by The Cincinnati Team

UC Named Amoung World's "Most Inspiring Campuses"

by The Cincinnati Team

The most recent edition of Delta Airlines' Sky Magazine placed UC among                                                          the world's top 10 "most inspiring University of Cincinnaticampuses." Sharing the honors with Cincinnati are such campuses as the Thomas Jefferson-designed University of Virginia, Beijing's Tsinghua University sitting among the former Qing dynasty gardens, Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

The widely read travel, lifestyle and business magazine based its selection on stunning physical settings and overall design or architecture. UC made the list largely thanks to its collection of masterful buildings by some of the world's best designers and architects. Sky joins Forbes magazine in placing UC on a short list of the world's most beautiful universities.

Mt. Airy Forest Added to National Register of Historic Places

by The Cincinnati Team

Mt Airy Forest added to National Register of Historic Places            

Mt. Airy Forest, and much of the Cincinnati Park System as a whole, has been documented to be historically significant. The recent placement of  Mt. Airy Forest on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service is a way of recognizing this importance...a fitting way to celebrate its 100th Annniversary!

The National Register is a prestigious list of the country’s most significant historic sites. Mt. Airy Forest is now officially recognized as nationally significant. Historic documentation of the entire Cincinnati Park system provided part of the context for the listing of Mt. Airy Forest, recognizing the historic significance of the Cincinnati Park system as a whole, setting the stage for future nominations of either individual sites within the park system, or multiple sites.

The documentation of Mt. Airy Forest found that the period of significance was 1911-1959, and that it is significant for numerous reasons, including that the park:

  •  Is the firMt. Airy Forestst, or one of the first, municipal reforestation projects in the nation
  •  Is known for its depression-era development under federal WPA and CWA programs
  • Is significant for its employment of African-American Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) labor that provided the manpower to build much of the park (and who were stationed in the park)
  •  Has landscape architecture significance through its association with noted early 20th Century designer, George Kessler and State Forester, Edmund Secrest
  •  Has architecture of the "rustic" design mode
  • Features remarkable quality craftsmanship of its buildings and its association with R. Carl Freund, the Cincinnati Park Board's most prolific architect and designer of 37 park buildings between 1930 and 1959.

Honor Veterns at the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Library

by The Cincinnati Team

Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library Honors Our Veterans - November 11Korean War Vetern, Howard Osterkamp

The immeasurable debt we owe to our veterans is remembered yearly on November 11. To mark the occasion, Korean War veteran Howard Osterkamp will present the keynote remarks for the 57th Annual Veteran's Day Commemoration at 10:45 am on Friday, November 11 at the Main Library Atrium.

Howard Osterkamp spent nine straight months on the front lines near the 38th parallel in the Heartbreak Ridge and Punchbowl areas. Not only was his 5th Regimental Combat Team under constant attack, but it was also contending with temperatures reaching more than 100 degrees in the summer and as low as 40 degrees below zero in winter. He was wounded in the leg by shrapnel in September 1952. Although his leg was broken in two places, doctors misdiagnosed the injury as a bruise and sent him back to the front lines the same day, where he spent the next four months.

The program will also feature patriotic music performed by the Walnut Hills High School Choir, a color guard, presentation of memorial wreaths by veterans' groups, lighting the Flame of Remembrance, and Taps. All are invited to attend this free program honoring our nation’s veterans.

Cincinnati Universities Rank High by U.S. News and World Report

by The Cincinnati Team

U.S. News and World Reports College Rankings          

U.s.News and World ReportMiami University was ranked third in the country for best undergraduate teaching program among national universities; trailing only Dartmouth College and Princeton University.  Miami ranked No. 90 among national universities and 40th among national public universities, according to the rankings. Miami was tied with SUNY-Binghamton University in New York, St. Louis University and the University of Missouri in the rankings.

Xavier University was ranked fourth among midwestern universities, tied with Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Thomas More College was ranked No. 49 among southern regional universities, tied with the University of Tennessee-Martin.

Northern Kentucky University earned a No. 71 ranking among southern regional universities, tied with Campbellsville University in Kentucky, Pfeiffer University in North Carolina and Valdosta State University in Georgia.

The College of Mount St. Joseph was ranked No. 72 among midwest regional universities, just behind schools including Minnesota State University in Mankato.

The University of Cincinnati's ranked No. 143 among national universities, tied with others including Kansas State, Alabama-Birmingham and the University of Mississippi. 6 UC programs ranked in the Top 15 nationally.

How to Get Your House Ready for Fall

by The Cincinnati Team

Now that you have put the lawnmower away for the year and started raking the leaves, you know it is also a good time to get your house ready for the colder temperatures. A big part of getting your home ready for the fall is sealing up your home and checking to make sure that your heating equipment is in peak working order.

The best way to approach these tasks is to make checklist of everything that needs to be done – and why it needs to be done. Let’s examine the ways to help your heating system do its job and how to keep it working efficiently.

• First, see if there is anywhere in your house that there might be heat loss. Make sure to change out the screens in your windows with glass. Check all of the caulking and weather stripping around doors, windows, roof vents, etc.. If it is chipped, cracked, or missing, you will need to repair or replace it.
• Second, check the ductwork in your house. Openings between joints will keep your heating system from working as efficiently as it could. You can use duct tape to seal off any obvious gaps, even after you have closed or repaired them. If you need leaks fixed more thoroughly, call your local contractor who can perform a test on your house’s entire heating system.
• Check all of your heating vents for obstructions or debris. Moving furniture or carpeting away from the vents helps distribute the heated air better.

Now that you have taken steps to seal up you house, it is time to check your furnace for ways to keep it running efficiently. Besides providing warmth and comfort to people in your home, a properly tuned furnace will run more efficiently and use less energy – keeping your utility bills down.

• First, check your furnace filter. If it is dirty or you haven’t changed it recently, you will want to replace the filter in the air handling unit (connected to your furnace through a plenum). This will improve your furnace’s energy efficiency and help keep your indoor air clean. If you have a removable electronic filter, clean it by washing with a soapy solution and rinse it out. Dry it before putting it back in the air handling unit.
• Inspect the pilot flame in your furnace. The flame should be a bright blue with a slight shade of yellow on the tip. If you don’t see that, there may be incomplete combustion inside your furnace.  This should be checked immediately by a professional.

The last thing you should check is to make sure there is a constant flow of fresh air throughout your home. Sealing a home up too tightly can keep stale, untreated air inside. That's not healthy for anyone.

Be safe, warm, and comfortable this fall by taking these easy steps.

These tips are from RineAir Heating & Air Conditioning, who offer heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance and repair in the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio area. You can check out their blog here.

Much Loved Musical, Wicked Returns to Cincinnati

by The Cincinnati Team

Wicked, In Cincinnati Through November 26th

Enjoy Wicked's third visit to Cincinnati, playing to sold-out audiences nightly. The show has worked its magic on both critics and audiences, on Broadway and around the world.  It has received major awards including a Grammy and three Tony Awards.  The New York Times calls it the "defining musical of the decade."

Your visit to the Emerald City will detail the untold stories of the two witches you remember from the famous Wizard of Oz stories.  You'll learn how they grow from girls together into the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

The show is playing at the Aronoff Theatre nightly through Nov.26th.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 10

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