Closing costs on a home transaction are approaching 2 percent of the mortgage amount, averaging $3,741 on a $200,000 purchase loan, according to an annual survey by Bankrate.com.
That’s a 37 percent increase from a year ago, as lender fees and charges by third parties like title insurers both posted double-digit gains.
The survey probably overstated how much closing costs have increased, Bankrate.com acknowledged, because it’s based on the good faith estimates that lenders provide to borrowers.
In the past, borrowers often paid higher fees than those they were quoted in the good faith estimate, and so the survey probably underestimated actual closing costs.
This year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, under the authority of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), has imposed limits on which fees can change from the amount quoted on the good faith estimate, and by how much.
That means this year’s survey probably provides a more accurate picture of actual closing costs paid by borrowers, but overestimates the amount by which fees have increased.
Some of the increase is undoubtedly real, as lenders are dealing with stricter underwriting requirements that increase the amount of labor involved in processing applications.
The survey found lender origination fees were up nearly 23 percent, averaging $1,463 on a $200,000 purchase loan.
Title insurers have also managed to secure rate increases in many states. The survey found that third-party fees charged by title insurers and other third parties, such as appraisers, were up more than 47 percent from a year ago, to an average of $2,277.
The five most expensive states were New York, where closing costs averaged $5,623, followed by Texas ($4,708), Utah ($4,605), California ($4,486), and Alaska ($4,327).
The five least expensive states were Arkansas, where closing costs averaged $3,007, followed by North Carolina ($3,255), Iowa ($3,261), Montana ($3,298), and Wisconsin ($3,303).