Bankrate: Loan Closing Costs Jump 36.6% Year-Over-Year
The average origination and third-party fees on a $200,000 mortgage increased 36.6% to $3,741 from last year's average of $2,739, according to Bankrate's annual mortgage fee survey. Lender origination fees increased to $1,463, or 22.8%, in 2010 from $1,192 in 2009, while the average total third-party fees rose 47.2%, to $2,277 from the year-ago average of $1,547. Bankrate suggests one reason for this jump in cost is the government requirement for lenders to provide accurate good faith estimates (GFEs) of closing costs. GFEs give a borrower an idea of how much the loan will cost to close and, until this year, were non-binding. This means that the lender could provide an inaccurate or lower statement to the borrower without being penalized. Since May, however, lenders are penalized for undershooting a GFE. Another cause of closing cost inflation, suggests Bankrate, is the increased cost of labor lenders go through to comply with tighter underwriting standards and background checks. "Just to do one loan is time-consuming now, with all the compliance and paperwork," Chik Quintans, mortgage planner for Atlas Mortgage, told Bankrate. "Labor is a true cost." HousingWire reported in late June that mortgage brokers made an average $1,135 on each mortgage originated in 2009, up 272% from 2008 ($305), according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). New York and Texas maintain the most expensive closing costs nationally. Four out the the past five years, the two states have occupied the top two spots on the survey. Last year results were reversed, Texas in first followed by New York. Utah, California and Alaska complete the top five most expensive states for mortgage fees while Wisconsin, Montana, Iowa, North Carolina and Arkansas came in at the lowest cost (in descending order). Bankrate is a web-based financial rate aggregation firm. The company's survey takes numbers from online GFEs as well as origination fees charged by lenders and by third-parties. The survey excludes property taxes, recording fees, homeowners insurance and prepaid items such as a partial month's mortgage interest. Write to Christine Ricciardi.