What is a High Balance and Jumbo Mortgage in California?

When a loan amount is between $417,000 and $625,500, this is commonly referred to as an Agency High Balance loan or a High Balance Conforming loan. Many counties in California attract a higher income demographic and therefore the cost of housing can be significantly higher than average housing costs throughout the State. Maximum conventional conforming high cost loan limits are:

    • 1 Unit: $625,500
    • 2 Unit: $800,775
    • 3 Unit: $967,950
    • 4 Unit: $1,202,925

Most, but not all high cost Counties are located near the coast. However, it’s not the location of the County that determines maximum loan limits; it is the median income of the entire County.  The following is a chart of all maximum loan limits in California high cost counties:

County 1 Unit 2 Units 3 Units 4 Units
Alameda $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
Alpine $463,450 $593,300 $717,150 $891,250
Contra Costa $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
El Dorado $475,950 $608,000 $734,950 $913,350
Los Angeles $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
Marin $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
Mono $529,000 $677,200 $818,600 $1,017,300
Monterey $483,000 $618,300 $747,400 $928,850
Napa $592,250 $758,200 $916,350 $1,138,950
Nevada $477,250 $610,950 $738,500 $917,800
Orange $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
Placer $475,950 $608,000 $734,950 $913,350
Sacramento $475,950 $608,000 $734,950 $913,350
San Benito $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
San Diego $546,250 $699,300 $834,300 $1,050,500
San Francisco $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
San Luis Obispo $561,200 $718,450 $868,400 $1,079,250
San Mateo $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
Santa Barbara $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
Santa Clara $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
Santa Cruz $625,500 $800,775 $967,950 $1,202,925
Sonoma $520,950 $666,900 $806,150 $1,001,850
Ventura $598,000 $765,550 $925,350 $1,150,000
Yolo $475,950 $608,000 $734,950 $913,350

If your loan amount is larger than the max limit above you have a true Jumbo loan that requires portfolio financing. A jumbo mortgage is a mortgage loan that exceeds the level of principal eligible for purchase by the housing finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  These loans are typically not sold in the secondary market and are primarily serviced held by the institution that made the loan or in their private “portfolio”.  Many of our borrowers require a Jumbo Mortgage given the home prices and high-cost areas within California.  Depending on the county limit, many borrowers’ options become somewhat limited.  At Trojan we understand this specialized need and have partnered with quality investors that truly cater to this market.

Should I apply for a High Balance or a Portfolio Jumbo loan?

If you find a house that suits your family and is under the county’s loan limit, you should definitely consider applying for a High Balance Conforming loan. Keep in mind the following:

    • You will still need to supply your credit score and debt-to-income ratio in order to qualify for the loan.
    • You will need to provide full income documentation.
    • On a High Balance Conforming purchase, you may be required to supply a slightly larger down payment on the house, but this numbers typically will be lower than if you applied for a Portfolio jumbo loan.
    • For loan amounts exceeding the county limits you should discuss our Jumbo Portfolio options with one of our loan specialists.