CLARK: There Is Always Something

Economic data released last week indicates U.S. growth can be sustained. Although business investment dipped in August, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell a bit as well. The stock market remained volatile last week but ended with only slight losses. The stock market has been reacting to the economic downturn in China. Investors also did not know what to make of the Federal Reserve of leaving interest rates alone.

The Commerce Department reported capital goods orders (excluding military and aircraft orders) dipped slightly, but more than expected. Analysts believe the number of orders in the third quarter is a positive sign for the economy in comparison to the amount of equipment orders in the second quarter.

New homes sales across the country increased almost 6% last month and is the strongest rate since February of 2008. This surpassed analyst’s expectations and followed a sharp revision in the pace of sales during July to 12%.

Recently, a buyer in Greenwich stated it best “that although the stock markets are reacting to various developments in the global and national economy, this is not new.”

Realtors hear personal stories of clients in finding them homes. Life events often trigger a move and learning the most information about their options makes their decisions easier.

Of the 33 properties under contract/executed contract in Greenwich, just 3 were reported (as of this writing) last week. This statistic should improve, as the fall market has brought more homes on the market.

Connecticut is the first state in the country to enact a law banning variable-rate electricity contracts for residential homes. This law goes into effect October 1, 2015. Variable-rate contracts offer low electric rates for the first few months. After a consumer signs up they may not realize, the energy provider can hike their electric rate without notice after the initial term ends. It may take months before a customer can switch and in the meantime they will have to pay the increased rate for electricity.

Variable-rate contracts are tied to market conditions and not an economic index like credit cards. With electricity, consumers use the utility and charged for its use afterwards.

This is the second residential electric customer bill of Connecticut has enacted in the past two years. The previous one was a residential electric customer bill of rights. As a result of this bill, all electric bills show a customer’s current rate, the standard rate as compared to the next month’s rate. Also, this law eliminates cancellation fees on any variable-rate plan and limits fees to $50 on all contracts.

What needs to be addressed is the customer being slammed into a variable-rate plan after a long-term fixed-rate plan expires with little or no notice. Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory is supposed to present recommendations to the General Assembly this coming January.

Mary Ann Clark is a realtor with Coldwell Banker at 177 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Questions or comments may be emailed to [email protected]

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