A nationwide survey of lenders by Bankrate.com found that while closing costs are lower than last year, residents of some states continue to pay considerably more than others.
The Bankrate.com survey — conducted by obtaining six to nine good faith estimates for a $200,000 loan from online mortgage lenders — found closing costs averaged $2,736 nationwide. That’s down 9.5 percent from 2006, when closing costs averaged $3,024.
But average closing costs varied widely from state to state, from a high of $3,830 in New York, to a low of $2,339 in Indiana.
Closing costs, which include lender origination fees, third-party title insurance and settlement fees, and taxes and other prepaid costs such as homeowners insurance, vary by region according to taxes, custom and regulation, the survey noted.
Factors that explain New York’s place on top of the survey for the second year in a row include a mortgage tax levied on lenders, and a mortgage recording tax, Bankrate.com said in reporting the survey’s results.
Origination fees averaged $1,637 in New York, while title and closing costs were $2,193. That compares with an average of $1,268 in origination fees in California, and $1,511 in title and closing costs.
Costs may be higher when closings are conducted by lawyers, rather than title agents or escrow officers, the report said. While it’s customary for lawyers to conduct closings in New York and other Northeastern states, the report said attorneys are less likely to be involved in other states, especially in the West.
In general, the survey found that closing costs tended to be higher in the most populous states. The five states with the most expensive closing costs — New York ($3,830), Texas ($3,413) , Florida ($3,175), Pennsylvania ($3,169) and Ohio ($3,047) — are among the nation’s seven most populous.
The two other seven most populous states — California and Illinois — were ranked further down on the list. Thanks to below-average lender fees, California had the 17th-highest closing costs ($2,779). It also helped that the study broke down California into two regions, north and south, and Northern California, where closing costs of $3,101 were higher than all but four states, was excluded from the rankings.
The low price of title insurance helped Illinois achieve the third-lowest closing costs in the nation. In Illinois, title insurance averaged $441, compared with $1,248 in New York.
The states with the lowest costs were Indiana ($2,339), Wyoming ($2,390), Illinois ($2,401), Nevada ($2,467), and North Carolina ($2,487).