The loan amounts for Federal Housing Administration ( FHA) mortgages -- known by lenders as 203(b) mortgages (one- to four-family owner-occupied properties) -- vary according to whether or not you're in a "high cost" area.
In fact, the loan limits are actually set buy a formula, based upon the median home price in each county. With more liberal qualification and downpayment rules, an FHA-backed loan might be a perfect fit for your circumstance.
To find out the limits in your area, you can ask a lender in our FHA Showcase. Of course, if you're just curious if a large-enough loan for your needs is available, and you're not quite ready to talk to a lender, you can look it up through the HUD website here. If you do, though, make sure you use your browser's 'back button' to come back to this page and to the FHA Lender Showcase when you're done.
With many changes made to the FHA program over the past few months, homeowners and homebuyers may be eligible for many different kinds of assistance, from the new Hope for Homeowners program or even new loan modification efforts which may help keep you in your home with more afforable payments.
Visit the FHA homepage at HUD for more details and information here.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Maximum Loan Amounts
Although Fannie and Freddie's loan purchase limits are also usually set by a formula, certain changes were made back in March 2008 to allow them to temporarily buy mortgages beyond their traditional limits. In some areas, loans up to $729,750 are eligible to be sold to Fannie or Freddie. Not all areas have limits this high; some only have a slight expansion of the limit. However, with true jumbo mortgages priced more than a full percentage point above these "expanded conforming" loans, it's a great opportunity for some borrowers to save a bundle of cash.
Like the FHA program, you'll need to look up your limits to see what's available to you. We've captured a spreadsheet from the GSEs which can allow you to look up your market to see if an "agency jumbo" is available to you. It's available here (XLS file).
Note: The program was changed starting January 1, 2009 to one with a "maximum maximum" loan limit of $625,500 in certain high-cost areas, but was changed back again along with the Government's 2009 "stimulus" package to the old 2008 limts. These higher "high-limit" conforming loans should be back in the market starting in late April or early May 2009.
For historical Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits click here.