Maine mortgage closing costs rise slower than national trend

Closing on a mortgage has gotten more expensive in the past year, but closing costs in Maine are rising slower than the national average. Experts interviewed by financial data aggregator Bankrate said the increases in recent years mostly are due to new mortgage regulations.

Bankrate’s latest survey shows mortgage closing fees rose about 3.7 percent in Maine from 2013 to 2014, compared with a 5.7 percent rise in lender and third-party fees nationally.

Compared with the other states, Maine ranked 30th with an average closing cost of $2,497. Maine was ranked 22nd in 2013 and 36th in 2012.

Bankrate’s survey was generated from estimates by up to 10 lenders providing a quote for a $200,000 home in the state’s largest city, using a 20 percent down payment, with excellent credit.

Bankrate reported that as closing costs rise, they are becoming an increasing focus for borrowers who tend to pay attention primarily to the interest rate associated with a mortgage. And those closing costs aren’t expected to drop in the coming years, according to lenders who spoke with Bankrate.

Smaller lenders face even higher costs because they can’t afford an in-house team to meet the requirements, so they pay third parties to do the work.

Given that the survey is limited geographically, I’m curious to know whether these closing costs are reflective of costs across the state. If you recently bought a home, how important were closing costs in finding the right lender?

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.