2018 Conforming Loan Limits - HSH.com
2018 "Conforming" Loan Limits
Every year, new loan limits are announced for one- to four-family loans which may be purchased by the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA, or Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC, or Freddie Mac). These corporations are the two largest "secondary market" agencies -- corporations which purchase closed loans from mortgage lenders.
The base loan limits remained unchanged from their 2006 levels though 2016, and began to rise again in 2017. For 2018, the conforming limit has been increased by the largest dollar increase in more than 10 years.
The maximum loan amounts for one-to-four family mortgages in Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands are 50% higher than the limits for the rest of the country.
"Conforming" loans are so called because (among other features) the loan sizes 'conform' to the maximum loan amounts which may be purchased by the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA, or Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC, or Freddie Mac). "Jumbos" are mortgages with loan amounts which exceed the current FNMA/FHLMC limit. (Click here for a history of conforming loan limits.)
Expanded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Maximum Loan Amounts for High-Cost Areas
Although Fannie and Freddie's loan purchase limits are also usually set by a formula based upon the change in home prices from October to October, certain changes were made back in March 2008 to allow them to "temporarily" buy mortgages well above these traditional limits.
Loans originated on or after October 1, 2011 use the "permanent" high-cost area loan limits established by FHFA under a formula of 115% of the area's median home price, up to a maximum of $679,650 for a 1-unit property in the continental U.S.. The high-cost area loan limits are established for each county (or equivalent)
As with 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).
These "expanded conforming" or higher "agency jumbo" offers are available in only 220 of the 3,234 counties. Some of these are traditionally expensive housing markets, including a number of areas in California and places like New York and the Washington D.C. metro area, but there are a few areas in the list that may surprise you, such as the Florida Keys, U.S. Virgin Islands, the Mariana Islands, as well as exclusive skiing towns in Idaho and Wyoming.
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