What Explains Variation in Title Charges? A Study of Five Large Markets

Research Report

What Explains Variation in Title Charges? A Study of Five Large Markets

Abstract

Title charges include title insurance premiums and charges for settling a loan. Title charges vary considerably from a median of $1,971 in California to $625 in North Dakota. This report analyzes variation in settlement costs using data from over 3,000 FHA-insured, 30-year fixed-rate home purchase loans in five metropolitan areas. Even after controlling for metropolitan area, various characteristics of homebuyers, houses, neighborhoods, and settlement agencies, more than one-half of the variation in title charges remains unexplained. Substantial differences in title charges between settlement agents within a market suggest that consumers would benefit by shopping for settlement services.

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