Buying a home? Here's some good news

Despite rising home prices nationwide, wannabe house owners can take comfort in one thing: Closing costs are dropping.

The closing fees associated with borrowing for a home have fallen seven percent over the past year, now averaging around $1,850 on a $200,000 loan, according to Bankrate.com. The research firm sought an online estimate from lenders in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., on the closing costs for getting $200,000 mortgage on a single-family home, with a 20 percent down payment.

An important take-away from the survey: Homebuyers have more say over closing costs than they might expect. Bankrate advises people to compare closing prices, noting that costs vary among lenders.

Bankrate.com mortgage analyst Holden Lewis told CBS MoneyWatch it is a "bit of a mystery" why closing costs are dropping. But one factor might be the declining number of people refinancing their mortgages, as interest rates creep up, he said.

Soft demand for home loans may also be playing a role. Lewis cites data from the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, better known as Freddie Mac, in noting that the total amount of mortgage loans has declined from $2.4 trillion in 2012 to an estimated $1.4 trillion this year.

That being said, there are still a lot of factors that can weigh on closing costs, such as the competitiveness of the local real estate market.

In some parts of Washington State's Puget Sound region, for example, potential homebuyers have to fight their way through what the Tacoma News Tribune calls "a complicated and often expensive labyrinth of new rules and strict loan qualification standards" established after the housing crash.

Banks remain cautious, which can delay the home closing process for weeks, while in turn running up costs for nearly all the parties involved.

Here are the states with the five highest and lowest mortgage closing costs, as well as the average amount of those closing costs, according to Bankrate.com:

States With the Highest Closing Costs:

Hawaii ($2,163)
New Jersey ($2,094)
Connecticut ($2,033)
West Virginia ($1,971)
Arizona ($1,969)

States With the Lowest Closing Costs:

Ohio ($1,613)
Idaho ($1,682)
Wyoming ($1,689)
Utah ($1,697)
Maine ($1,727)