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FHA, VA and HECM mortgage news. HUD and G i n n i e news also. Originations, servicing and FHA approval.

FHA Limit Raised

Limit increased to $729,750 until Dec. 31, 2009

February 25, 2009

By staff

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released temporary loan limits for mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

A HUD announcement today indicated the FHA limit has been temporarily increased to $729,750. The increase is effective on all FHA-insured mortgage loans endorsed by Dec. 31, 2009.

The passage of H.R. 5140, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, in February 2008 had pushed the FHA limit in high-cost areas to $729,750. The limit was established at 125 percent of median home prices at the local level and capped at 175 percent of the national conforming limit of $417,000. But that increase ended on Dec. 31, 2008.

In July 2008, H.R. 3221, the Housing and the Economic Recovery Act of 2008, was signed into law. That bill set the maximum FHA loan at 115 percent of the local median house price with a maximum of 150 percent of Freddie Mac's conforming limit -- permanently increasing the FHA limit to $625,500 in high-cost areas where it has stood since Jan. 1. The FHA national floor limit in low-cost areas is $271,050.

The latest increase was the result of H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was signed into law last week. The legislation calls for FHA limits to remain at the higher of those established in either H.R. 5140 or H.R. 3221.

Loans on two-unit properties in high-cost areas can go as high as $934,200, while three-unit properties are limited to $1,129,250 and four-unit financing is capped at $1,403,400.

In low-cost areas, the two-unit limit is $347,000. The three-unit limit is $419,400, and the four unit maximum is $521,250.

In Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Virgin Islands, the single-family FHA limit can be pushed by HUD as high as $1,094,625 -- though no counties in those areas currently qualify for a limit of more than $729,750.

HUD also confirmed that the maximum home-equity conversion mortgage was increased to $625,500 -- as reported yesterday. HECMs closed on or after Feb. 24 qualify for the higher limit.

HUD makes limits available by county online at:

Reverse Limit Jumps
The most recent round of emergency economic legislation included an increase in maximum reverse mortgage amounts.

Conforming Limit See Saws

After emergency economic legislation enacted under President George Bush last year temporarily pushed the conforming limit to $729,750, it fell back this year to $625,500 in high-priced areas. But emergency legislation under President Barack Obama has the limit higher again.

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