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Honolulu has the third-highest home closing costs among U.S. cities, a survey says
Home buyers in Honolulu must pay the nation's third-highest closing costs, according to an annual study by Bankrate.com, which surveyed major cities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
WHAT IT COSTS
Cities with the highest closing costs for home buyers:
1. Buffalo, N.Y.: $3,887
2. Houston, Texas: $3,578
3. Honolulu, Hawaii: $3,407
4. Cleveland, Ohio: $3,354
5. Miami, Fla.: $3,349
Closing costs are the fees borrowers pay for applications, title searches, and other expenses when purchasing a home. With an average total of $3,407 in closing fees, Honolulu ranks No. 3 in this year's survey, while Buffalo, N.Y., ranked No. 1, with average closing fees at $3,887, followed by Houston at No. 2, with average closing fees at $3,578.
The average closing cost nationwide is $3,024.
Hawaii, meanwhile, has the priciest loan fees charged directly by lenders, averaging $1,922 in the Bankrate.com survey, well above the national average of $1,672. Hawaii's fees were also higher than average for tax services, document preparation, appraisal fees, pest and other inspections and attorney fees.
For the survey, Bankrate.com took eight good-faith estimates from online lenders, and requested information on the closing costs for a the 30-year, fixed-rate loan of $200,000, assuming that a buyer with good credit was putting a 20 percent down payment on a single-family home.
Cities with the lowest closing costs were St. Louis ($2,713), Detroit ($2,714), Concord, N.H. ($2,734), Billings, Mont. ($2,737), and Cheyenne, Wyo. ($2,772).
"Part of the reason for that has to be with the cost of assets that we sell out here," said Jim Wright, president and CEO of Century 21 All Islands. "We sell some of the most expensive homes in the nation. Closing costs are generally based on the value of the transaction."
Wright said Hawaii also is a litigious state, leading to higher insurance costs that also become a factor in the closing costs of the loan.
Others in the lending industry, including Jim Patterson, vice president of residential loans at American Savings Bank, were surprised at the high ranking.
"Our fees are pretty much in line with what's charged across the country," said Patterson. "This is a very competitive marketplace, with both Hawaii-based lenders and nationwide lenders. I would question which lenders they surveyed in our market."
In its survey, Bankrate.com also surveyed homebuyers on whether so-called "good-faith estimates" given by lenders were accurate.
Bankrate.com found the following results:
» 60 percent said estimates were right on the mark.
» 13 percent said they paid higher than the estimate.
» 8 percent said they paid less.
» The remaining 19 percent did not know or did not respond.
The Bankrate.com survey did not cover government fees or other prepaid items usually passed on from the lender to the borrower.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.