This factsheet summarizes key findings from a study that analyzes variation in settlement costs using data from FHA-insured, 30-year fixed-rate loans in five metropolitan areas. Title charges varied widely, from a median of $1,867 in Broward County to $914 in Philadelphia. Even after controlling for metropolitan area and 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 may benefit by shopping for settlement services. Regulators may want to consider helping consumers make more informed choices.
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