Summary: The maximum mortgage amount in California varies from county to county, and also based on the type of loan being used. Below, you’ll find the maximum amount for FHA, VA and conventional mortgages in 2017.
You would think the maximum mortgage amount for California would be straightforward, a single number for all borrowers. But it’s a bit more complex. That’s because there are different “loan limits” for different types of mortgage programs. Additionally, there are income-based limits that apply to borrowers on an individual basis.
But have no fear. We’re going to boil it down for you. Here’s what you need to know about the maximum mortgage amount in California, for 2017.
Maximum Mortgage Amounts in California, 2017
Most of the home loans originated in California fall into one of three categories: conventional, FHA or VA. So we will focus our discussion on those mortgage types.
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All three of these options have loan limits associated with them. These limits represent the maximum mortgage amount you can borrow, for each of these financing options.
Here’s an overview of those maximums:
- Conventional loans: Conforming limits range from $424,100 in most California counties, up to $636,150 in the more expensive counties like Orange and San Francisco. Some counties fall between these levels. It’s possible to borrow more than these limits by using a jumbo loan (see below).
- FHA loans: The maximum mortgage amount for a Federal Housing Administration home loan ranges from $275,650 in lower-priced areas, up to $636,150 in the pricier markets like the Bay Area and Los Angeles. These are the 2017 figures — they could change next year. Related: California FHA income requirements.
- VA loans: The limits for a VA-guaranteed mortgage are the same as conventional. So the maximum amount for California VA loans ranges from $424,100 to $636,150, depending on location. Eligible home buyers could go above these limits by making a larger down payment.
Going Big With a ‘Jumbo’ Loan
Well-qualified borrowers could borrow more than the maximum California mortgage amounts shown above, as long as their income supports it. This can be done by using what’s known as a “jumbo” loan.
Definition: A California jumbo mortgage loan is one that’s larger than the conventional conforming limits mentioned above. This means that it cannot be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the government-controlled corporations that buy and sell bundled mortgage loans. Jumbo loans can exceed $1 million in some cases.
Qualification criteria for borrowers can be stricter for jumbo loans, since there’s a larger amount of money being provided and therefore higher risk. The main thing is that the borrower’s income should be sufficient to afford the monthly mortgage payments, along with all other recurring debts. That’s the primary consideration.
Recap: The maximum mortgage loan amount in California can vary based on where you live and what kind of home loan you’re using. There are location-specific limits for conventional, FHA and VA mortgages. Your income level must support the amount you are trying to borrow. Borrowers with sufficient income can borrow above these limits by using a jumbo loan.