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2016 Maximum Conforming Loan Limits Established for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
National Baseline Loan Limit Remains Unchanged; Limits Rise for 39 High-Cost Areas
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced that the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2016 will remain at existing levels, except in 39 high-cost counties where they will increase. In most of the country, the loan limit will remain at $417,000 for one-unit properties.
The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) established the baseline loan limit at $417,000 and mandated that, after a period of price declines, the baseline loan limit cannot rise again until home prices return to pre-decline levels. The $417,000 loan limit will stay the same for 2016 because FHFA has determined that the average U.S. home value in the third quarter of this year remained below its level in the third quarter of 2007.
The state of Colorado will see the highest increase. In 2015, the Maximum Conforming Loan Limit was $424,350. In 2016, the Maximum Conforming Loan Limit will increase to $458,850. The increase is a grand total of $34,500.
HERA provides for higher loan limits in high-cost counties by setting loan limits as a function of area median home value. Although the baseline loan limit will be unchanged in most of the country, 39 specific high-cost counties in which home values increased over the last year will see the maximum conforming loan limit for 2016 adjusted upward. Although other counties also experienced home value increases in 2015, after other elements of the HERA formula—such as the statutory ceiling and floor on limits—were accounted for, these local-area limits were left unchanged.
A list of the 2016 maximum conforming loan limits for all counties and county-equivalent areas in the country may be found here. A description of the methodology used for determining the maximum loan limits can be found in the attached addendum.
CONFORMING LOAN LIMITS
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are restricted by law to purchasing single-family mortgages with origination balances below a specific amount, known as the “conforming loan limit.” Loans above this limit are known as jumbo loans.
The national conforming loan limit for mortgages that finance single-family one-unit properties increased from $33,000 in the early 1970s to $417,000 for 2006-2008, with limits 50 percent higher for four statutorily-designated high cost areas: Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since 2008, various legislative acts increased the loan limits in certain high-cost areas in the United States. While some of the legislative initiatives established temporary limits for loans originated in select time periods, a permanent formula was established under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA). The 2016 loan limits have been set under the HERA formula.