The interest rate assigned to conforming loans versus jumbo loans can often differ. And many people may assume that a smaller loan amount would translate to a lower rate. But that’s not always the case, as we’ll explain in this article.
The median home price in Seattle is now around $827,235 as of November 2023. Given the high price of homes in Seattle relative to other centers in Washington State, a higher percentage of home buyers in Seattle are using jumbo mortgage loans to finance their purchases.
You might think a jumbo loan would come with a higher interest rate, since there’s a higher amount being borrowed. But that’s not always the case. In fact, Seattle jumbo loan rates can sometimes be lower (on average) than the rates assigned to conforming mortgage loans.
That said, jumbo loan rates are slightly higher right now, though the difference is very small.
Getting a “Big” Mortgage Loan in Seattle
A conforming loan is one that meets the size requirements used by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored corporations that buy loans from lenders. These limits vary by county because they are based on home prices.
When a person borrows more than the conforming loan limit for his or her county, it’s referred to as a jumbo mortgage loan.
In King County, Washington, the conforming loan limit for a single-family property is $977,500 for 2024. So, anything above that would be considered jumbo.
Some mortgage shoppers shy away from jumbo loans in Seattle, thinking they will have to pay a higher mortgage rate. But that’s not always the case. There are a variety of factors that determine the rate you receive on a home loan, including your credit score, the amount you put down, and other factors.
The data show that Seattle jumbo loan rates are not always higher than their conforming counterparts.
Check out our mortgage loan limit tool for conventional, FHA, and VA loans.
Report: Jumbo Loan Rates Similar to Conforming
Recent data shows that borrowers nationwide are getting similar rates on jumbo loans to smaller conforming mortgage loans.
At the time of this article’s publishing date, the average interest rate assigned to 30-year fixed mortgages with conforming loan balances of $977,500 or less in Washington State was 6.84%.
The average interest rate for jumbo loans (those that exceeded the baseline loan limit of $977,500) was 6.94%, which is very similar to rates for conforming loans.
Joel Kan, an economist with the MBA, told CNBC: “A strong appetite for jumbo loans in a highly competitive jumbo market has led to increased availability and lower pricing … over the past few years.”
Jumbo loan rates in Seattle and nationwide are almost always higher than the rates assigned to conforming mortgage products (on average). While this trend reversed a few years ago, we are back to seeing lower average rates for conforming mortgages than their jumbo counterparts, as we are seeing today.
Get a Quote to Find Out Where You Stand
This article underscores the importance of getting a specific rate quote tailored to your particular situation. The average interest rates reported by industry groups (and widely covered by the media) are useful in the sense that they help us track trends over time. But the actual rates assigned to a particular home loan can vary based on a number of factors.
The moral of this story: Seattle jumbo loan rates are not always higher than conforming, and in some cases, they can be quite a bit lower. However, today they are slightly higher than conforming loan rates, though the difference is very small right now. There are several variables that can affect your borrowing costs. So, the logical next step would be to obtain a rate quote based on your situation.
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Sammamish Mortgage is a local mortgage company serving the broader Pacific Northwest region, including Washington state, Idaho, Colorado, and Oregon. We have been in the business since 1992 and are proud to offer a wide variety of mortgage programs and products with flexible qualification criteria, including our Diamond Homebuyer Program, Cash Buyer Program, and Bridge Loans. Please contact us if you have any questions or are ready to apply for a home loan.