Closing costs, state-by-state

Last Updated Sep 23, 2009 6:25 PM EDT

Everything really is bigger in Texas.

Bankrate.com's annual state-by-state survey of closing costs, which came out earlier this month, shows that Texas has displaced New York City as the place where mortgage industry closing costs ranked the highest. (A note on methodology: the survey actually took some states as entire areas while dividing some up, so "California -- Los Angeles" and "California -- San Francisco" were, according to it, two different places.)

In order, the ten most expensive areas were:

1) Texas 2)New York -- New York City 3)Florida 4)California -- San Francisco 5)Oregon 6)Alaska 7)Pennsylvania 8)Oklahoma 9)Ohio 10)Washington [the state, not the city]

The big cost pops on the list were all in the West: San Fran (up from a ranking of #11 last year to #4 this year), Oregon (rising from #19 to #5) and Washington (up from #34 to #10).

Now it's worth noting that the methodology was that researchers, indicating that they had 20 percent down payments and good credit, asked for Good Faith Estimates -- bankers estimates of closing costs -- on a $200,000 loan. So these costs include origination fees, title and closing, but don't include taxes -- which, let me tell you as a recent homebuyer, is a big thing not to include.

For example, we bought this summer, and the taxes on the transaction (which were, thankfully paid by the seller) were about 2 percent of the total purchase price.

There's also a question of whether anybody gets a $200,000 loan anymore. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median home price in July was $178,400, but those of you who live in urban areas now that that won't go far in a big city. In fact, the national median condo price is a smidge higher -- $400 -- than the median price for plain ol' homes, because condos tend to be in high-cost places like NYC and Florida.

The other thing is that the Bankrate survey quizzes lenders about loans with low "origination" costs. Since you can currently often get a better rate by paying origination costs -- otherwise known as points -- plus, they're tax deductible -- they're not always a cost you want to avoid.

However, the methodology does provide an axis of comparison over time. Nationally, according to the study, the average origination and title fees on a $200,000 loan were $2,732, down from $3,118 in 2008.

Speaking of lower costs, the five cheapest places to get a mortgage, in case you're wondering, are in order:
  1. Nevada (with an average cost of $2,276)
  2. Kansas ($2,361)
  3. Indiana ($2,417)
  4. Maine($2,419)
  5. and
  6. Vermont($2,426)
  • Alison Rogers

    Since graduating from Harvard summa cum laude, Alison Rogers has been a reporter, an editor, a real-estate agent, a Wall Street desk jockey, a columnist, a failed flipper, and a landlady. A member of the National Association of Realtors, she currently sells and rents luxury co-ops in Manhattan for the Chelsea-based firm DG Neary. (If you've got $27,500 a month, the firm has an apartment for you!) Her book, Diary of a Real Estate Rookie, was called "a valuable guide for rookie buyers" by AOL/Walletpop, "beach-read fun" by the New York Observer, and "witty" by Newsweek.

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