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POSTED: Friday, August 28, 2009

Mortgage rates near record low

WASHINGTON » Rates for 30-year home loans edged up this week but remain close to record lows reached over the spring.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 5.14 percent, up from 5.12 percent a week earlier, mortgage company Freddie Mac said yesterday. Rates, while above the record low of 4.78 percent hit in the spring, are still at attractive levels for people looking to buy a home or refinance.

Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.58 percent, from 4.56 percent last week. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages were unchanged at 4.69 percent.

Japan's jobless rate hits record 5.7%

Japan's unemployment rate rose to a record in July, signaling households are unlikely to help sustain a recovery from the country's worst postwar recession.

The jobless rate advanced to 5.7 percent, eclipsing the previous worst of 5.5 percent last seen in April 2003, the statistics bureau said yesterday in Tokyo. Economists had predicted 5.5 percent.

The result comes just two days before the country holds parliamentary elections, widely seen as a referendum on the ruling party's handling of the economy.

Made in Hawaii Fest attracts 37,800

The Made in Hawaii Festival, sponsored by First Hawaiian Bank, lured a record 37,800 people during its three-day run last weekend at the Neal S. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall and Arena.

The 14-year-old event also featured a record number of nearly 500 exhibitors' booths.

16 isle condos at complex for sale

Hawaiian Island Homes Ltd. will hold an open house starting this weekend for 16 residential condominiums at 1533 Nehoa St. in Honolulu.

Fifteen units have a living area of 494 square feet with a lanai/patio area of 69 square feet. One unit has a living area of 661 square feet with a lanai area of 69 square feet. The units range in price from $212,000 to $259,000. Each unit comes with one assigned parking stall and a refrigerator, gas stove, stacked washer/dryer and disposal. The maintenance fee includes insurance and common area maintenance.

Current tenants have the first right of refusal to purchase the apartment they are living in. The seller is giving buyers a 3 percent credit paid at closing if they close on or before Nov. 30. Buyers may qualify for the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers.

The open house will be from 9 a.m. to noon tomorrow and from 1 to 5 p.m. from Sunday through Sept. 7.

For more information, call Hawaiian Island Homes at 368-8053 or go to http://www.hihltd.com/nehoa.

Plea deal reveals Stanford details

HOUSTON » The former finance chief for jailed Texas financier R. Allen Stanford said his boss created a business empire where blood oaths were taken to secure loyalty, bribes were paid from a secret Swiss bank account and investor profits were more fiction than financial genius.

New details about how Stanford allegedly bilked investors out of $7 billion were made public yesterday after James M. Davis, Stanford's former chief financial officer, became the first person to plead guilty in the case.

Davis pleaded guilty in Houston federal court to three counts: conspiracy to commit mail, wire and securities fraud; mail fraud; and conspiracy to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.

The plea is part of a deal Davis made with the Justice Department in exchange for a possible reduced sentence. His plea came hours after Stanford was taken with an irregular heartbeat and high pulse from the privately run prison where he is being held outside Houston to a local hospital.

Robocalls face new federal ban

The Federal Trade Commission said yesterday it is banning many types of prerecorded telemarketing solicitations, known as robocalls. Currently, consumers must specifically join a do-not-call list to avoid them. Starting Sept. 1, telemarketers will first need written permission from the customer to make such calls. Violators will face penalties of up to $16,000 per call.

Don't expect all automated phone calls to disappear completely, though. Calls that are not trying to sell goods and services to consumers will be exempt.

ON THE MOVE

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» Chelsea Group senior building scientist Terry Carlin received the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Commission- ing Process Management Professional Certification. He is among the first in the nation to complete this certification.

» Aqua Hotels and Resorts has named Dan Bayne as director of sales—groups. His experience includes Western region director of sales for Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, director of sales and marketing for Marc Resorts, director of group sales at Hilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio and director of sales for Outrigger Hotels and Resorts.