Home shoppers in Bucks and Montgomery counties, Pennsylvania, got some doubly good news recently. Interest rates have dropped below 4% for a 30-year mortgage and a survey shows that closing costs here are the second and third best in Pennsylvania, respectively.
It costs 3.3%, on average, of the home's value to complete the purchase in both counties, according to the financial technology firm, Smart Asset.
Closing costs – also called settlement costs – can be a deal breaker if a homebuyer makes enough money to qualify to carry the mortgage but doesn't have enough funds available for the required deposit and other fees needed to finalize the sale.
"Closing costs are always a concern, especially for first-time homebuyers," said Pam Croke, CEO of the Bucks County Association of Realtors. "They save and save (for a deposit) and these closing costs are always a question mark. Buyers need to look closely at every penny that will be spent on the transaction."
The closing costs often can't be predicted until the mortgage rate is set and taxes and other fees are known.
"It's common for first-time homebuyers to request sellers' assistance to carry some of these costs," said Jim Chamberlin, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Fox & Roach Realtors in Yardley.
Smart Asset analyzed records from all the counties nationally, based on a buyer acquiring a home with a 20% down payment and taking out a 30-year mortgage. They used the median home value, based on census data, in each county in the calculations.
In Bucks County, the median house was valued at $315,700 and the average closing costs came to $10,489. In Montgomery, the median house was valued at $299,300 and the average closing costs were $10,009.