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Most Expensive States

Bankrate.com survey examines closing costs

February 1, 2007

By MortgageDaily.com staff

When it came to closing costs last year, New Yorkers still paid the most. But Beaver State residents saw the biggest increase in mortgage costs.

Such conclusion was derived from Bankrate.com's annual closing costs survey, which observed information obtained on the closing costs for a 30-year fixed-rate $200,000 single-family loan with a 20 percent downpayment for borrowers with good credit and within a ZIP code in the biggest city in each state, except New York.

In New York, where researchers chose Buffalo because New York City is "unique," closing costs this year were reportedly $3,887 -- again the highest of all states due to high title and settlement costs.

Bankrate.com noted that closings there are usually attended by attorneys for the lender, title company, borrower and seller, and sometimes the seller's lender. Another item that may contribute to the higher costs is the state's mortgage recording tax, which includes a "special additional tax" that the lender is obligated to pay but ultimately doesn't.

"As such, multistate lenders might have a quarter-point higher fee for New York so they don't have to absorb it," Ellen Bitton, owner of Park Avenue Mortgage in Manhattan, reportedly told Bankrate.com. "Even though they're paying for it, they're passing it along."

Texas jumped to being the state with the second-highest closing costs -- $3,578 -- from being the 15th most expensive state last year also due to high title and settlement fees, Bankrate.com said.

Nationwide, lender, title and settlement fees totaled an average of $3,024 and the median cost was $2,978, increasing from $2,748 and $2,669 in 2005, respectively. Bankrate.com said, noting that, in most states, title insurance averaged less than $600, but in New York and Texas, title insurance premiums are well above $1,000.

Hawaii's closing costs of $3,407 were the third-highest, compared to the second-highest last year, and included the highest loan fees charged directly by lenders, averaging $1,922 in the survey, Bankrate.com said.

The remainder of the 10 most expensive states to close a loan in were Ohio, Florida, Connecticut, Alaska, New Mexico, Kentucky and Alabama. The last three joined Texas as states that incorporated the top 10 this year, according to the survey.

However, Oregon's ranking worsened the most over the year -- jumping 30 spots to be the 15th most expensive state. Oklahoma and Wisconsin followed by each climbing 22 spots to respectively take 11th and 26th place, while Tennessee and Mississippi each worsened their ranking by 21 spots to respectively take spots No. 16 and No. 21.

There difference between New York and Missouri, which had the lowest closing costs, was $1,174. Borrowers in Michigan paid the second-lowest closing fees, at $2,714, followed by New Hampshire, Montana and Wyoming -- which was last year's lowest-cost state.

Maryland improved its ranking by the most -- as it went from being the 9th most expensive state last year to No. 38 in this year's survey -- and was followed by Montana and Missouri.

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