When home prices rise or fall, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) must by law set new loan limits for conforming loans and FHA-backed mortgages. The new limits for 2020 reflect current market prices and make it easier for consumers to buy homes in their area.

“As a result of generally rising home values, the increase in the baseline loan limit, and the increase in the ceiling loan limit, the maximum conforming loan limit will be higher in 2020 in all but 43 counties or county equivalents in the U.S.,” according to a statement by the FHFA.

Find out what the conforming and FHA loan limits are in every county across the U.S. By clicking on each state name, you’ll see specific loan limits by county for both conforming and FHA mortgages. If you need a loan that exceeds these maximum limits, you’ll need to inquire about a jumbo loan.

What is an FHA loan?

An FHA loan is insured by the Federal Housing Administration and requires lower minimum credit scores and down payments than many conventional loans.

You can qualify for an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 500 with 10 percent down. To get FHA’s maximum financing of 96.5 percent, you need a credit score of 580 or higher and 3.5 percent down. FHA borrowers pay for mortgage insurance with upfront and annual premiums, also called private mortgage insurance, also called PMI. The insurance protects the lender from a loss if the borrower defaults on the loan.

What is a conforming FHA loan?

A conforming loan is one that meets the guidelines set by government-backed agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A popular type of conforming loan is a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

There are a number of criteria that must be met for a conforming loan, such as a minimum credit score of 620. For 2020, the conforming loan ceiling in most areas is $510,400, a lift from $484,350 in 2019. In counties with higher home prices, the maximum conforming loan limit is $765,600 — or 150 percent of $510,400.

What is a jumbo loan?

A jumbo loan is a home loan for more than the conforming limit set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Interest rates on jumbo loans are comparable to rates on conforming loans. One main reason: Lending standards for jumbo loans tend to be stricter, with larger down payments required.

Use Bankrate’s mortgage calculator to see how different loan amounts, interest rates and term lengths affect the mortgage payment.

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