2009 Mortgage Loan Limits (Updated)

There are several types of mortgage loan limits. Generally, most borrowers need to look at conventional, FHA and VA loan limits to see how much can be financed with the most-widely originated loans.

If you borrow at or below the conventional loan limit for non-government mortgages, you would have what is generally known as a “conforming” loan. If the amount borrowed is above the conventional loan limit, you would have a “jumbo” loan and face a higher rate because larger loans imply more risk to investors, the folks who buy mortgages.

Note: This material is now out of date. Please go to: FHA Loan Limits Rise, Conventional & VA Mortgage Limits Stick.

In last half of 2008 the government substantially increased mortgage loan limits on a “temporary” basis. This means that when 2009 began the country was supposed to return to the lower loan limits that were in effect at the start of 2008. That’s largely what happened for the months of January and February. However, under HR1: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 we largely went back to the higher limits used at the end of 2008.

Below is a list of the loan limits for 2009. For specifics, please check with local lenders before entering the marketplace to finance or refinance real estate.

Conventional Loans

For 2009 the conventional loan limits depend on the county where you are located. Instead of one national mortgage limit, we now have one for each county — and there are more than 3200 counties.

So, to know your mortgage loan limit you have to look at the government chart which lists the limit for all areas. The chart can be found at:

Loan Limits for 2009 Mortgage Originations — All Counties

In general terms, 2009 loan limits for a single-family home range from $417,000 to $729,750. Once you know the loan limit for a single-family home in a specific area you can then see the limits for owner-occupied homes with two to four units.

Example #1 — Basic Loan limit

One Unit — $417,000
Two Unit — $533,850
Three Unit — $645,300
Four Unit — $801,950

Example #2 — Loan Limit for Certain High-Cost Areas

One-Unit –$729,750
Two Unit — $934,200
Three Unit — $1,129,250
Four Unit — $1,403,400

Also, in 2009 there are loan limits for so-called “higher cost” areas. In other words, instead of looking at “counties” you can also look at “areas.” These selected areas are located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, The District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

The chart for specific high-cost areas and loan limits can be found at:

Loan Limits for 2009 Mortgage Originations — High-Cost Areas

VA Loans

For 2009 the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will use a locality-based approach to establish VA loan limits. Loan limits for specific areas range from $417,000 to as much as $1,094,625. To find the VA loan limit for a given area, please use the chart below:

2009 VA County Loan Limits for High-Cost Counties

Some important points about financing for vets made by the VA:

  • Vets can purchase homes with one to four units provided that they live in one unit. The veteran must certify as to occupancy.
  • In the case of an active-duty veteran who cannot occupy because of his or her status as an active duty member of the armed forces, occupancy by the spouse can satisfy the occupancy requirement.

FHA Loans

The FHA loan program has loan limits for owner-occupied homes under its 203(b) program, the most-common FHA option. The FHA loan limit varies according to whether you live in a typical real estate market, a “high cost” market or in Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands.

For 2009 the FHA loan floor for owner-occupied properties look like this:

One-Unit — $271,050
Two-Unit — $347,000
Three-Unit — $419,400
Four-Unit — $521,250

For 2009, FHA loan limits in higher-cost areas are as follows:

One-Unit — $729,750
Two-Unit — $934,200
Three-Unit — $1,129,250
Four-Unit — $1,403,400

The FHA has special, higher potential loan limits outside the continental U.S. for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

One-Unit — $1,094,625
Two-Unit — $1,401,300
Three Unit — $1,693,875
Four-Unit — $2,105,100

To qualify for the FHA loans above, at least one unit must be owner occupied.

HUD has an online database which shows the latest FHA loan limits by state and county. The system can be reached by going to the

FHA Loan Limits Page

FHA-Insured Reverse Mortgages

The loan limits for FHA-insured reverse mortgages (also known as home equity conversion mortgages or HECMs) has been set at $625,500.


Copyright 2009 Peter G. Miller. All Rights Reserved. Use of this material without permission is illegal, however up to 300 words of this material may by reproduced online PROVIDED credit is given to the author AND a plainly-visible link is provided to my home page, OurBroker.com.

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