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With the Income You Need to Buy a Median-Priced Home rising, you may need to Learn About Adjustable Rate Mortgages to preserve affordability.

With the Income You Need to Buy a Median-Priced Home rising, you may need to Learn About Adjustable Rate Mortgages to preserve affordability.

What loan amount does a mortgage need to be for it to be considered a Jumbo Loan?

Keith Gumbinger

Q: What loan amount does a mortgage need to be for it to be considered a Jumbo Loan?

A: This question used to have a simple answer, since there was a "bright line" definition -- the conforming loan limit. Back in 2008, Congress decided to let Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA offer "high-limit" loans in some of the most expensive housing markets.

What was a simple break point between conforming and jumbo became a mess of loan limits based upon median home prices. In most markets, the conforming loan limit is $647,200, and loans with amounts above that level are considered jumbos. However, in certain "high-cost" markets, the conforming loan limit runs as high as $970,800 (and loan amounts above this in these markets would be a jumbo).

In still other markets, the maximum conforming loan amount runs somewhere between the standard $647,200 limit and the maximum-maximum $970,800 limit.

These "expanded conforming" or higher "agency jumbo" offers are available in only 159 of the 3,232 counties, parishes and territories around the country. If you are curious about what's applicable in your area, 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).

Related: See current conforming loan limits and a history of conforming loan limits.

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Keith Gumbinger
Keith Gumbinger
Mortgage Expert
Vice President, HSH.com
About Keith: Mortgage market observer and analyst with 35 years experience... (more)
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