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Honolulu office vacancies increase

Honolulu’s office vacancy rates continued to rise and reached 12.1 percent at midyear compared with 11.8 percent at the start of 2011.

The sixth consecutive quarter of lost occupancy reflects the lackluster economic conditions and weakened tenant demand that have dampened the market’s recovery, according to a report issued Thursday by Colliers Monroe Friedlander.

There was a negative 26,043 square feet of net absorption as the available space in the market exceeded the space being taken off the market. However, that was better than the first half of 2010 when there was negative net absorption of 167,379 square feet.

“There remains optimism that this market is in transition and that the office market will strengthen over the next few quarters,” Colliers wrote.

The average islandwide full-service gross asking rent for all classes of buildings was $2.80 per square feet per month at midyear compared with $2.79 at the start of 2011.

Despite the gain in full-service gross asking rent from the beginning of the year, Colliers said most landlords are not likely to benefit as the base rent actually fell while operating expenses increased.

“The volatility in fuel oil costs likely contributed to the increase in tenant occupancy costs as electricity prices jumped,” Colliers wrote.

Oceanic debuts faster broadband

Oceanic Time Warner Cable has launched a new broadband Internet service with download speeds of up to 30 megabits per second for customers on Oahu and Kauai.

The new Road Runner Extreme service is an improvement over Road Runner Turbo Plus, Oceanic’s previous top-of-the-line broadband service with a maximum download speed of up to 20 megabits per second. Road Runner Extreme’s top upload speed of 5 megabits per second is also faster than the 1 megabit per second offered by Turbo Plus.

The new service will be priced at $35 per month over the Standard Road Runner service, which has a maximum download speed of 10 megabits per second. Oceanic is currently offering a promotional rate of $38.95 a month for the Standard Road Runner service.

Oceanic said it plans to offer the new service on Hawaii Island in August and on Maui in September. The service is aimed at gamers and other customers who regularly download music or movies, said Bob Barlow, president of Oceanic Time Warner. It also should appeal to people who work from home and need the extra bandwidth, he said.

“Road Runner Broadband Extreme is the area’s fastest residential service and with today’s announcement Oceanic Time Warner Cable continues to lead the way as the most popular broadband provider in Hawaii,” Barlow said.

Fixed mortgage rates hold steady

WASHINGTON » Fixed mortgage rates were mostly unchanged this week, hovering near their annual lows.

The average rate on the 30-year loan rose slightly to 4.51 percent, Freddie Mac said Thursday. It hit its lowest level of the year three weeks ago, at 4.49 percent.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, stayed at 3.69 percent. It reached its low point of the year two weeks ago, at 3.67 percent.

Rates typically track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has been rising in the past week. That could change this week when the Federal Reserve’s $600 billion bond-buying program ends.

The Fed has purchased around $75 billion worth of bonds each month since November. That drove the yield on the 10-year Treasury note lower than 3 percent this spring. As a result, rates on mortgages and other loans also fell.


Today’s ship arrivals and departures:

Agent Vessel From ETA ETD Berth Destination
ISS NYK Floresta Mexico 5 a.m. –- 01A
ISS Libra Leader Japan 6 a.m. noon 32 Port Hueneme, Calif.
MNC Mahimahi 1 p.m. 52A Oakland, Calif.


Agent Vessel From ETA ETD Berth Destination
WNLI Overseas Anacortes Portland, Ore. noon BP-5


Hawaii State Federal Credit Union has announced the following promotions:

» Betsy Weatherford as card services manager of Hawaii State FCU’s card services department. She has more than 10 years of experience in the financial industry in Hawaii, including electronic banking product manager at City Bank.

» Sheryl Higa as business systems manager of Hawaii State FCU’s business systems department. She has 28 years of financial industry and business systems experience.


Kaiser Permanente Hawaii has named the following leaders to sales and account services:

» Allison Galdeira was previously a case manager and community development employee with Women in Need and has 14 years of sales and account service experience.

» Chandler Pearson was previously a sales representative for First Data Corp. in Sacramento, Calif.

» Patrick Price was previously director of operations for Franklin Advantage and has 15 years of sales and marketing management experience.

» Kenneth Sloan served as a sales representative in the primary care division with Warner Chilcott as well as sales representative for Hawaii Newspaper Agency.

» Karen Watanabe was previously a financial associate/federal employee benefits specialist for Pacific Wealth Strategies in Honolulu. She has 20 years of sales experience, including ownership of Avellan Corp. Initiatives in Honolulu.

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