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FHFA announces 2016 conforming loan limits

Much of U.S. left unchanged; limits increase in 39 ‘high-cost’ counties

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The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2016.

Despite some earlier predictions that the loan limits would rise for 2016, the FHFA said that the conforming loan limits will remain unchanged for much of the country.

For most of the country, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limit will remain at $417,000 for one-unit properties (or single-family homes) in 2016.

According to the FHFA, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 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 FHFA said that 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.

But in 39 “high-cost” counties, the FHFA said that the conforming loan limit will be increased for 2016.

Although the baseline loan limit will be unchanged in most of the country, the FHFA said that 39 specific high-cost counties that saw home values increase over the last year will have their maximum conforming loan limit for 2016 increased. 

“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,” the FHFA said.

According to the FHFA, the conforming loan limits will increase in several areas, including several counties in the Denver metro area, several counties in the Boston metro area, several counties in the Nashville metro area, and three counties in the Seattle metro area.

Additionally, four counties in California will see their conforming loan limits increase.

According to the FHFA, the conforming loan limit for Monterey County, California, which includes Salinas, will increase by $26,450, from $502,550 to $529,000.

In Napa County, California, which includes Napa, the conforming loan limit will increase from $615,250 to $625,500, an increase of $10,250.

The largest increase in California comes in Sonoma County, which includes Santa Rosa. In Sonoma County, the conforming loan limit will rise from $520,950 to $554,300, an increase of $33,350.

The conforming loan limit will also increase in San Diego County, rising $18,400 from $562,350 to $580,750.

Additionally, in several Denver-area counties, including Adams County, Arapahoe County, Broomfield County, Clear Creek County, Denver County, Douglas County, Elbert County, Gilpin County, Jefferson County and Park County, the loan limit will rise from $424,350 to $458,850, an increase of $34,500.

In several Boston-area counties, the loan limits will rise slight. In Essex County, Middlesex County, Norfolk County, Plymouth County, Suffolk County, Rockingham County, and Strafford County, the loan limits will increase from $517,500 to $523,250, an increase of $5,750.

In the Nashville area, loan limits in several counties will increase by $11,500, from $425,500 to $437,000. The affected Nashville counties are: Cannon County, Cheatham County, Davidson County, Dickson County, Hickman County, Macon County, Maury County, Robertson County, Rutherford County, Smith County, Sumner County, Trousdale County, Williamson County, and Wilson County.

In the Seattle area, the loan limits in three counties will rise from $517,500 to $540,500, an increase of $23,000. Those counties are King County, Pierce County, and Snohomish County.

Several of the counties that will see their loan limits increase in 2016 also saw their loan limits increase for 2015.

Click here to see the 2016 loan limits for the unchanged counties.

Click here to see the 2016 loan limits for the 39 counties that were increased.

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