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In this post, we will go over the basics of jumbo loans in Washington State in 2021. We will provide a short definition of jumbo loans, cover current rates in WA State, and then discuss how these current rates relate to current home prices.
A jumbo loan is a conventional (not government insured) mortgage loan that exceeds the conforming size limit for sale to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. These limits vary by county. For most counties in Washington State, the conforming loan limit is $548,250. So a jumbo loan is one that exceeds that amount. But certain counties, like those in the Seattle metro area, have higher jumbo loan limits.
This is the latest entry in our blog series that answers frequently asked questions from Washington State home buyers. Today’s question is:
Most mortgage programs have certain size restrictions or limitations. This is true for FHA, VA, and conventional home loans. (A conventional loan is one that is not backed or insured by the federal government, which sets it apart from the FHA and VA programs.) When a loan exceeds these size limits, it is referred to as a jumbo loan.
The term “jumbo” is usually applied to conventional mortgage loans. This label means that the loan is too big to be acquired by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that buy and sell bundled mortgage loans. A Washington State jumbo loan exceeds these size restrictions, and therefore it is considered a “non-conforming” mortgage loan.
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If you compare 2020’s limits with the limits for 2021, you’ll notice that they’ve increased substantially.
Anything above these amounts is a jumbo mortgage. For example, in the Seattle metro area, a single-family jumbo loan is one that exceeds $776,250 (the 2021 conforming limit for that area). The same is true for a single-family loan obtained in either Pierce or Snohomish County. For the rest of Washington State, a jumbo loan is a conventional mortgage that exceeds $548,250.
Generally speaking, mortgage qualification criteria can be a bit more strict for jumbo loans, simply because there’s more money being loaned out and therefore higher risk. Borrowers who want to take on a larger mortgage should have good credit, stable income, and a manageable level of debt.
Check out our mortgage loan limit tool for conventional, FHA, and VA loans.
As you might have guessed, jumbo non-conforming mortgage loans are generally used by people who are purchasing higher-end properties. By design, the conforming loan limits are usually set higher than the median home price within a particular county. In theory, this gives home buyers plenty of properties to choose from without having to venture into jumbo mortgage territory.
In Clark County, Washington, for example, the median home value was around $458,641 in June 2021, according to Zillow. The conforming loan limit for the county is $548,250 for 2021. That’s well above the median value for a house in the area. Most other counties in the state work out the same way.
The Seattle metro area works the same way, though there are times when the median home price is higher than the conforming loan limit, which is the case right now. As of June 2021, the median home value in Seattle is $831,953, as per Zillow, and the conforming loan limit is $776,250.
Buyers in the Seattle area may have a more difficult time finding a suitable property within the conforming loan limits. Consequently, Seattle buyers will also be more likely to take on a jumbo mortgage loan when making their purchase (compared to other parts of the state).
To recap: What is a jumbo loan in Washington State? In most counties, it’s a home loan that exceeds the conventional / conforming limit of $548,250 for 2021. In the Seattle metro area, a jumbo mortgage loan is one that exceeds the elevated limit of $776,250.
If yes, don’t hesitate to reach out to Sammamish Mortgage. We can answer any questions you might have about jumbo mortgage loans or other kinds of mortgage loans. Sammamish Mortgage is based in Seattle & Bellevue, WA, but serves the entire Pacific Northwest region, including WA, OR, CO, & ID. We have been serving clients since 1992 and we’d love to help you too. Please contact us today with any financing-related questions you have.
If you are thinking of applying for a mortgage in Washington State, the loan amount you take out matters a great deal relative to the price of the home you intend to buy. Read on to find out more and to check out our loan limits tool.
Conforming loan limits have increased in Portland, Oregon in 2021 as a result of higher home prices. Read on to find out more and to check out our loan limits tool.