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California Conforming Loan Limits: A County-By-County Examination

Housing in California is (for the most part) expensive, at least compared to the rest of the United States.

According to World Population Review, California is the #2 most-expensive state, with average home prices at $505,000. This is the average, which means plenty of homes will be priced much higher than this. Redfin says that in Los Angeles the median sale price for homes is $950,000. (As of this writing.)

Clearly there is a need for larger home loans.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency sets conforming loan limits for the entire nation, but it doesn’t set a specific number for all areas. Instead, it sets a base limit that is used by most counties, then sets a higher limits for counties with higher home prices.

If you are purchasing a house in California, you need to understand the limits for conforming loans in your county, as this will impact what type of loan you can used.

California Conforming Loan Limits: What’s the Limit in Your County?

Most California Counties are Under Base Limit

Most of California counties will be under the base limit, which is the lowest limit used throughout the country. For 2022, the base limit is $647,200 for a single-family property. Although many California citizens will be under larger loan limits, most counties (regardless of population) are under the base limits.

This includes most of Northern California, from Del Norte County to Modoc County on the border with Oregon to essentially the Wine Country and the Sacramento and Tahoe area, where limits begin to rise.

Almost all of non-coastal California is under the base limits. In fact, except for two counties in the Tahoe region, the entire eastern border of California, as well as most of the California desert and the central corridor, are under the base limits.

But as you move into more densely-populated or high-cost areas, the conforming loan limits in California begin to increase.

Sacramento County to Lake Tahoe: $675,050

The next highest loan limits are found in the Sacramento region, including four counties that range from the end of the Sacramento River (where it flows into Suisun Bay and eventually the San Francisco Bay) all the way to Lake Tahoe.

The four counties in this area, which all have single-family conforming limits of $675,050, include Yolo, Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado counties. 

Sonoma County: $764,750

The next step-up in loan limits is found in Sonoma County. In this region, which is famous for splendid wines, has a limit of $764,750. If you are purchasing a property in Santa Rosa or the surrounding area, this will be the limit for your conforming loan.

Santa Barbara County: $783,150

In this Southern-California coastal county, the limits increase to reflect higher prices. This county includes major cities like Santa Maria and Santa Barbara, and also includes the northern Channel Islands.

San Luis Obispo County: $805,000

This coastal county, which is just north of Santa Barbara County, has even higher limits. Situated almost perfectly between the San Francisco and Los Angeles metro areas, this county has many small communities scattered among the beaches, coastal regions, and mountains.

Ventura County: $851,000

Located just up the coast from Los Angeles County (between LA and Santa Barbara), this county has limits above $850,00 for a single-family home. Buyers in cities like Ventura, Thousand Oaks, and Oxnard will have enjoy larger limits due to the higher cost of living and housing.

Monterey County: $854,450

With a scenic coastline and beautiful valleys, Monterey county is one of the most popular places to live in California. Because it’s so popular, the price of housing is high. In turn, the FHFA raised the conforming loan limit to over $854,000 for 2022.

San Diego County: $879,750

Holding the second-largest city in California, San Diego County is considered by many to be the finest area in the entire country. With gorgeous weather, numerous attractions, a strong connection to the military (especially the Navy and Marines), San Diego attracts people from all over the country. People pay top dollar to purchase a San Diego property, which is why the conforming loan limits in our area are almost $880,000.

Napa County: $897,000

Known globally for its wine industry, Napa County is loaded with fertile fields and stunning scenery. It attracts tourists from across the world, and is a must-visit destination for any wine enthusiast. People also love to live in this county, and they will pay top dollar to settle here, which is why the limits are nearly $900,000.

The Bay Area has some of the most expensive homes in the country, so loan limits are at the highest amounts.

Bay Area: $970,800 (Largest Limits Possible)

Two areas in California have the highest possible conforming loan limits allowed by the FHFA. To the north is the San Francisco Bay area, which holds San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland. This area includes eight counties, ranging from Marin County in the north all the way down to San Benito County. It holds San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Contra Costa, Alameda, and Santa Clara counties.

Los Angeles and Orange Counties: $970,800 (Largest Limits Possible)

Two adjacent counties, Los Angeles and Orange, also have limits at the maximum amount. These two counties are known for high-priced homes and a high cost of living, which is why the FHFA allows for conforming loans above $970,000 in these two counties.

Still Not Enough? California Jumbo Loans Available Now

These are only the limits for conforming loans on single-family homes. If you need a larger loan, there are more options, including jumbo loans in the state of California.

Also, conforming loans can be used to purchase multiunit properties. These properties are usually more expensive, so the conforming limits on these properties are higher. For example, the limit for loans on a four-unit property in San Diego is almost $1.7 million.

Contact our staff today to learn more about conforming loans, jumbo loans, and many other mortgage options for your California purchase!