Conforming Loans

A conforming loan is one that is equal to or less than the dollar amount established by the conforming loan limit set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Federal regulator, The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) and meets the funding criteria of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

The term “conforming” is most often used when speaking specifically about a mortgage amount; however, the terms “conforming” and “conventional” are frequently used interchangeably. Mortgages that exceed the conforming loan limit are classified as non-conforming or jumbo mortgages.

OFHEO, which sets the conforming loan limit on an annual basis, has regulatory oversight to ensure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fulfill their charters and missions of promoting homeownership for lower income and middle class Americans. OFHEO uses the October to October percentage increase/decrease in average housing prices in the Monthly Interest Rate Survey of the Federal Housing Finance Board (FHFB) to adjust the conforming loan limits for the subsequent year.

National conforming loan limits are currently $417,000 for single unit dwellings. Areas designated to be ‘high cost’ can have limits as high as $625,500 for single unit dwellings, and many parts of California land between $417,000 and the ceiling of $625,500.

For most of the Bay Area, Conforming Loan limits are $625,500.