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Where loan limits rise in 2014

By Holden Lewis ·
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Posted: 1 pm ET

Mortgage loan limits will rise in 18 counties next year, and will remain the same everywhere else.

The 2014 conforming mortgage loan limit will remain $417,000 in most counties, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The limit will be higher in 168 expensive counties,* to a maximum of $625,500, in pricey places like San Francisco, New York City and Sun Valley, Idaho.

When 'jumbo' doesn't mean a big ol' tub o' popcorn

A mortgage for an amount higher than the conforming loan limit is called a jumbo loan. The interest rates on jumbo mortgages tend to be higher than interest rates for conforming loans. In the last few months, there has been little difference between jumbo and conforming rates, but I don't expect that phenomenon to last forever.

Find mortgage rates in your area.

FHFA says it didn't reduce the conforming limit in any counties, but that it raised the limit in "several" counties. Then, annoyingly, the agency didn't list the counties where it raised the limit. So, by hunting down a spreadsheet with the 2013 limits, and doing some copying and pasting and subtracting and filtering, I've done what FHFA should have done for us: Created a list of the 18 counties where the conforming limits will be higher in 2014.

You're welcome.

Counties where loan limits rise in 2014

County Name State 2014 limit 2013 limit Difference
Garfield CO $625,500 $417,000 $208,500
Kalawao HI $657,800 $626,750 $31,050
Maui HI $657,800 $626,750 $31,050
Camas ID $625,500 $417,000 $208,500
Lincoln ID $625,500 $417,000 $208,500
Essex MA $470,350 $465,750 $4,600
Middlesex MA $470,350 $465,750 $4,600
Norfolk MA $470,350 $465,750 $4,600
Plymouth MA $470,350 $465,750 $4,600
Suffolk MA $470,350 $465,750 $4,600
Rockingham NH $470,350 $465,750 $4,600
Strafford NH $470,350 $465,750 $4,600
Dutchess NY $625,500 $417,000 $208,500
Orange NY $625,500 $417,000 $208,500
Gates NC $458,850 $417,000 $41,850
Buckingham VA $437,000 $417,000 $20,000
Culpeper VA $625,500 $417,000 $208,500
Rappahannock VA $625,500 $417,000 $208,500

Why loan limits went up

In some cases, the loan limits are higher because house values went up, according to FHFA. In other cases, loan limits are higher because boundaries for metropolitan areas were redrawn. When a high-cost metro area absorbs a new county, the loan limit in that county goes up.

Loan limits in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Virgin Islands are $625,500, except for the Hawaii counties of Maui and Kalawao, where it's $657,800.

* When I wrote that loan limits are higher in 168 counties, I meant in the 48 contiguous states, because limits are higher in all Alaska and Hawaii counties. Also, I counted fast, so it might not be exactly 168.

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