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Average U.S. closing costs fall; San Francisco grabs the No. 4 spot

September 3, 2009 |  7:15 am

Closing costs are steep in the city by the Bay The average cost of getting a mortgage dropped about 12% nationwide over the last 12 months, according to a new study by Bankrate Inc.

Nationwide, the average closing fees on a $200,000 mortgage, with 20% down and a 30-year fixed-rate loan, totaled $2,732, down from $3,118 in 2008, the study found. Closing costs for home buyers haven't been this low since 2007, the survey said.

San Francisco had the 4th-highest closing costs in the United States, with average expenses of $3,117, a decline of 6% from $3,321 in 2008, the study said. Last year, San Francisco was ranked 11th in the survey, Bankrate said.

New York had been the most expensive state for closing fees for four consecutive years, with Texas holding steady in second place, the study said. But, in the most recent study, the two states switched spots.

On a $200,000 mortgage, closing costs in Texas averaged $3,855, the survey said. Closing fees in New York averaged $3,408, the study said.

Nevada was the cheapest state for closing costs with an average of $2,276.

The decline in closing costs for home buyers is a testament to the downward price shift in the real estate market, Bankrate said.

Researchers chose ZIP Codes in the largest cities of each state, analyzing the closing costs for a $200,000 home mortgage to figure out their averages, the survey said.

California was the only state to be broken in two for the study -- San Francisco and Los Angeles, Bankrate said. Average closing fees in Los Angeles came in at $2,861, which was good for the 14th spot. That's down 12% from $3,250 in 2008.

Bankrate's survey includes lenders' origination fees and title and settlement fees. Taxes, insurance, homeowners association dues or prepaid items weren't included in the study.

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Photo: A recently sold home in San Francisco. Credit: Getty Images