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Conforming loan limits: What you need to know

What we'll cover

  • What a conforming loan is and how it works

  • Conforming loan limits in 2024

  • Pros and cons of this type of mortgage

There are many different types of mortgages — fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, jumbo — and all of these options can leave many homebuyers with spinning heads. But a conforming loan can be particularly attractive because of its less stringent borrowing requirements.

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, a repeat buyer or looking to refinance, the simplicity of a conforming loan could be just what you need.

What is a conforming loan?

A conforming loan is a mortgage that meets the borrowing limits set by the Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA). These limits are determined according to guidelines defined by the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). If you’re unfamiliar, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are two government-sponsored enterprises that work with lenders nationwide and help facilitate mortgage lending.

A conforming mortgage may be conventional (meaning that it is offered or backed by a private lender or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) or non-conventional, which is when your loan doesn’t meet traditional borrowing standards and is secured through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), for example, instead.

Conforming loans can be an attractive option for first-time homebuyers because you could potentially make a down payment as little as 3% (although you will have to pay for private mortgage insurance until you’ve achieved 20% equity in the property).

Conforming loans can be an attractive option for first-time homebuyers.

What are the conforming loan limits in 2024

Across the country, most places have one maximum loan amount for conforming loans. In 2024, the maximum conforming limit for a conventional loan for a single-family home is $766,550, an increase of $40,350 from $726,200 in 2023. The baseline limit is higher in Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands: $1,149,825 for a single-family unit.

The conforming loan limit is adjusted each year to reflect the changes in the average price of a home in the U.S., and the baseline loan limit is set on a county-by-county basis. You can look up the 2024 conforming loan limits across the U.S. on this map .

Conforming loan limits in 2024
Units Baseline limit in 2024
Limit for high-cost areas in 2024
Single $766,550 $1,149,825
Duplex $981,500 $1,472,250
Tri-plex $1,186,350 $1,779,525
Four-plex $1,474,400 $2,211,600

Note: The above limits are for contiguous states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

If you’re pursuing a non-conventional FHA loan, a separate loan limit applies (because these mortgages don’t meet Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac guidelines). Presently, the FHA loan limit for a single-family house is $498,257 for low-cost areas and can be as much as $1,149,825 for high-cost areas of the country. The limit for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands on a single-family home is $1,724,725. 

Conforming loan limits in high-cost areas 

The FHFA sets a larger conforming loan limit for areas it determines are high-cost, such as Washington, D.C. and certain counties in California. The ceiling for conforming loans for one-unit homes in these areas increased to $1,149,825 in 2024.

That means if you’re buying a home in Los Angeles County and need a $900,000 mortgage, a conforming loan could still be an option because the amount you want to borrow falls within the conforming loan limit for high-cost areas.

But, if you’re wanting to purchase a townhouse in St. Louis, which isn’t currently considered a high-cost area, and need an $800,000 mortgage, a conforming loan would not be an option because you’d be exceeding the $766,550 baseline loan limit. Instead, you could consider a jumbo mortgage .

Advantages of a conforming loan

Conforming loans are typically backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, so they offer borrowers benefits that other mortgages don’t. The advantages of a conforming loan include:

  • Easier qualification requirements

  • Can offer a lower interest rate than other home loans, especially if you’re a borrower with greater financial resources and a strong credit score

  • You may have the ability to make a smaller initial down payment

  • Some flexibility when it comes to your credit score and other requirements (like income and amount of savings)

Disadvantages of a conforming loan 

Now, the downsides of conforming loans:

  • Can't go over the conforming loan limit — if you do, you have to opt for a nonconforming loan

  • You may not qualify if you have poor credit or a high debt-to-income ratio , which describes the relationship between the amount of debt you have and amount of money you bring in

How to decide if a conforming loan is right for you 

Most lenders offer conforming loans, giving you the ability to shop around for the best interest rate. But if you’re purchasing an upscale property or a home in a particularly expensive area, the conforming loan limit might be too low. Understanding the conforming loan limits can help you make the right choice.

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