Understanding Conforming and Jumbo Loan Limits

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You might come across terms such as “conforming loan,” “non-conforming loan,” and “jumbo loan” when you're shopping for a mortgage. These terms relate to mortgage loan amount limits. Conforming loan limits are set by the federal government, but non-conforming loans are not. A jumbo loan is a type of non-conforming loan that can be used to buy a more expensive home.

Knowing whether you need a conforming or non-conforming loan matters because that can affect your mortgage financing options. Learning the lingo can help if you're shopping for a home loan or soon will be.

What Are Conforming and Non-Conforming Loans?

A conforming loan is a mortgage that adheres to maximum loan limits as set by the U.S. government. These limits are established annually by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

Conforming loans also follow underwriting guidelines set by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) guarantee most mortgages in the U.S. Generally speaking, conforming loans are easier to qualify for a carry lower interest rates because they have backing from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Non-conforming loans don't follow the conforming loan limit guidelines. Your ability to qualify for a non-conforming loan, the amount you can borrow, and the interest rate you'll pay can vary from lender to lender.

What Are Jumbo Loans?

A jumbo loan is a mortgage that exceeds the FHFA loan limits. It can be either conforming or non-conforming. Jumbo loans can be more expensive and have higher down payment or credit score requirements compared with mortgages that meet conforming loan limits.

The FHFA sets conforming loan limits and jumbo mortgage limits by county. Some states follow the same limit for all their counties, while others have individual limits for different counties. You'd follow the regular conforming or jumbo loan limits unless a different threshold is specified.

The FHFA applies higher limits to certain high-cost areas of the country. Special statutory provisions also require different loan limits for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to account for rising home values there. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers an online lookup tool that you can use to check the conforming loan limits or jumbo loan limits in a given county.

Conforming, non-conforming, and jumbo loans are all types of conventional loans. They're not part of a specific government mortgage program.

2021 and 2022 Conforming Loan Limits

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) requires that baseline conforming loan limits be adjusted annually to reflect changes in average home prices in the U.S. The regular conforming loan limit set by the FHFA was $548,250 in 2021 for one-unit properties in most areas, increasing to $647,200 in 2022. The maximum limit for certain high-cost areas was $822,375 in 2021, increasing to $970,800 in 2022.

The baseline matches the regular conforming loan limit mentioned above in most U.S. counties. This chart highlights some of the counties where they're above the baseline as of 2022.

State/Territory County Conforming Loan Limits
Alaska All counties $970,800
California Solano County $647,200
California El Dorado County, Placer County, Sacramento County, Yolo County $675,050
California Santa Barbara County $783,150
California San Luis Obispo County $805,000
California Sonoma County $764,750
California Monterey County $854,450
California Ventura County $851,000
California San Diego County $879,750
California Napa County $897,000
California Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Los Angeles County, Marin County, Orange County, San Benito County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County $970,800
Colorado Adams County, Arapahoe County, Broomfield County, Clear Creek County, Denver County, Douglas County, Elbert County, Gilpin County, Jefferson County, Park County $684,250
Colorado Lake County $647,200
Colorado San Miguel County $756,700
Colorado Boulder County $747,500
Colorado Routt County $678,500
Colorado Garfield County, Pitkin County $856,750
Colorado Eagle County $862,500
Colorado Summit County $822,375
Connecticut Fairfield County $695,750
Florida Monroe County $710,700
Guam Guam $970,800
Hawaii Hawaii County, Honolulu County, Kalawao County, Kauai County, Maui County $970,800
Idaho Blaine County, Camas County $648,600
Idaho Lincoln County $647,200
Idaho Teton County $970,800
Maryland Calvert County, Charles County, Frederick County, Montgomery County, Prince George's County $970,800
Massachusetts Essex County, Middlesex County, Norfolk County, Plymouth County, Suffolk County $770,500
Massachusetts Dukes County, Nantucket County $970,800
New Hampshire Rockingham County, Strafford County $770,500
New Jersey Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County $970,800
New York Dutchess County, Orange County $726,525
New York Bronx County, Kings County, Nassau County, New York County, Putnam County, Queens County, Richmond County, Rockland County, Suffolk County, Westchester County $970,800
North Carolina Camden County, Pasquotank County, Perquimans County $647,200
Pennsylvania Pike County $970,800
Tennessee Cannon County, Cheatham County, Davidson County, Dickson County, Macon County, Maury County, Robertson County, Rutherford County, Smith County, Sumner County, Trousdale County, Williamson County, Wilson County $694,600
U.S. Virgin Islands Islands of St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas $970,800
Utah Salt Lake County, Tooele County, Box Elder County, Davis County, Morgan County, Weber County $647,200
Utah Summit County, Wasatch County $970,800
Virginia Alexandria City, Arlington County, Clarke County, Culpeper County, Fairfax City, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Fauquier County, Fredericksburg City, Loudoun County, Madison County, Manassas City, Manassas Park City, Prince William County, Rappahannock County, Spotsylvania County, Stafford County, Warren County $970,800
Washington King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County $891,250
Washington, D.C. District of Columbia $970,800
West Virginia Jefferson County $970,800
Wyoming Teton County $970,800

Areas that have higher conforming loan limits are ones that tend to have higher home values. You would most likely be subject to the regular conforming loan limits if you don't see your specific county listed here.

Jumbo Loan Restrictions

You might need a jumbo loan to close the deal if you're planning to buy a house that's valued above the conforming loan limit for your county.

Say you want to buy a home in San Francisco, where the typical home value was more than $1.5 million as of January 2022. Even though the high-cost-area conforming loan limits apply here, they're still well below the median home value. So you may need a jumbo loan to make it happen if you want to buy.

Keep in mind that jumbo loans may require that you put more money down. You may need 30% or more as a down payment instead of 20%. Lenders may also require that you have a higher credit score to qualify.

Paying off existing debt to reduce your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio could work in your favor because it shows lenders that you have the means to repay a jumbo loan.

Should You Get a Jumbo Loan?

A jumbo loan could make sense if you plan to buy a more expensive home and you need to borrow more than what's allowed under the conforming loan limits, but consider a few things before going forward with a jumbo loan:

  • How likely are you to qualify, based on your credit history, income, and current debt?
  • How much can you afford to spend on mortgage payments each month?
  • Can you keep up with the other costs of owning a home, including property taxes, homeowners' insurance, and maintenance?
  • What cash resources do you have available to make the down payment and pay closing costs?

Consider which way home values are trending in the area you're planning to buy in as well. You may want to apply for a jumbo loan sooner rather than later if home values are increasing steadily. But you may be better off waiting until prices stabilize if home values seem likely to decline.

Shop around with different lenders to compare mortgage rates, loan terms, and minimum qualification requirements whether you choose a conforming or jumbo loan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a jumbo loan?

A jumbo loan is any loan that exceeds FHFA loan limits. Jumbo loans can be conforming or non-conforming. They can also be conventional loans if they're not part of a federal government loan program.


Taking out a jumbo loan is something you may consider if you're buying a more expensive home. A regular conforming loan may not be large enough to complete the purchase based on the conforming loan limits for the county or state the home is located in.

How do you qualify for a jumbo loan?

Qualifying for a jumbo loan is based on the same factors as qualifying for a conforming loan. Lenders can review your credit reports and credit scores, income, employment history, assets, and debt. They also can take into account how much you plan to put down on a home when borrowing under jumbo mortgage limits.


The difference from a conforming loan is that lending requirements may be tighter because you're getting a substantially larger mortgage. So you may need a higher credit score, a higher income, a larger down payment, and lower debt levels to qualify. Talking to a jumbo loan lender or mortgage expert can help you decide if a jumbo loan is right for you and what you'll need to qualify.

Article Sources

  1. Federal Housing Finance Agency. "FHFA Announces Conforming Loan Limits for 2021." Accessed Jan. 9, 2021.

  2. Federal Housing Finance Agency. “FHFA Announces Conforming Loan Limits for 2022.” Accessed Jan. 9, 2022.

  3. Zillow. "San Francisco Home Values." Accessed Jan. 9, 2022.