The maximum conventional mortgage loan amount for the Bay Area of California was increased for 2018, due to significant home-price gains that occurred during the previous year. (This is for a conforming loan. Jumbo mortgages can exceed these limits.)
Here is an updated look at the maximum conventional home loan size for all nine counties across the San Francisco Bay Area.
Maximum Conventional Loan Amount in Bay Area
At the end of 2017, federal housing officials announced that they would increase conforming loan limits for 2018 in response to rising home values. These are the limits that apply to conventional home loans, which are not insured by the federal government. (FHA loans have their own limits, and you’ll find those here.)
The maximum conventional loan size can vary from one county to the next due to variations in home prices. As you would imagine, these limits are higher in the San Francisco Bay Area due to the more expensive homes that are found in the region.
Here are the maximum conventional loan sizes for all nine Bay Area counties in 2018:
- Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties have a conforming loan limit of $679,650. This is actually the maximum conforming loan limit nationwide, also known as the “ceiling.” This is as high as you can go without crossing into “jumbo” mortgage territory, as explained below.
- Solano County has a conforming loan limit of $460,000. That’s for a single-family home purchase in 2018. This represents the maximum conventional loan amount for borrowers who wish to stay within the conforming mortgage range. Anything above that limit is considered a jumbo loan within Solano County, California.
- Sonoma County has a conforming conventional loan limit of $648,600 in 2018.
As mentioned earlier, the maximum conventional loan size (for conforming mortgages) was increased from 2017 to 2018. This means that you could encounter outdated information online, from previous years. These limits are reviewed each year in relation to home prices, and sometimes they are increased from one year to the next. The numbers above are the current maximum conforming mortgage loan amounts for the Bay Area in 2018.
Recap: Conforming vs. Jumbo Mortgages
Conventional. Conforming. FHA. Jumbo. These terms tend to generate a lot of confusion among home buyers and mortgage borrowers. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Conventional: In this context, a conventional home loan is one that is not insured by the government. This puts it in a separate class from the FHA and VA home loan programs, which do receive some kind of government backing. In some cases, a conventional home loan might be insured with a mortgage insurance policy. But that policy would be provided by a company within the private sector. Conventional loans are not insured by the government. That is the key distinguishing factor.
Conforming vs. Jumbo: A conventional home loan in the Bay Area can either be conforming or jumbo, depending on the amount being borrowed. We just looked at the conforming loan limits for all nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area. When a home loan exceeds those limits, it is referred to as a jumbo mortgage. As you might imagine, Bay Area borrowers seeking a jumbo product must have a higher level of income in order to qualify for the larger loan size.
Here’s an article that talks more about the differences between conventional and FHA loans in California.