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Government Sponsored Entities or GSEs, such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, secure conventional loans. When the loan amount exceeds the current ceilings set for these types of loans by the GSEs then the private investors become involved. The types of properties that these loans can be used for are single to four family homes and you can secure either a first or second mortgage with these plans.

The GSEs set a loan limit that is reviewed and updated annually and is adjusted according to the current national average being paid for single-family homes. Currently the ceiling for 2004 stands at $333,700 dollars and applies to any loans that were secured after January 1 of this year.

This Year's (2005) Jumbo Loan Limits Are:

  • 1 Family     -     $359,650 (an increase from $333,700)
  • 2 Family     -     $460,400 (an increase from $427,150)
  • 3 Family     -     $556,500 (an increase from $516,300)
  • 4 Family     -     $691,600 (an increase from $641,650)

Note: Maximum original loan amounts are 50 percent higher for first mortgages on properties in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

If you need to secure a loan that is larger than the limits set by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Then you will need what is known as a Jumbo Loan. Because these loans are not backed by either of the GSEs they will have higher interest rates and other underwriting requirements associated with them. By using a mix of first and second trust money you may be able to lower your overall interest payments on purchase or refinance balances over the current $333,700 GSE loan limit. These are what are referred to as 80/10/10, 80/15/5 or 80/20 loans.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae also provide loan alternatives for people who are seeking fixed rate (FRM), adjustable rate (ARM) and balloon mortgages. They may also fall into the categories of low or no down payment loans, community lending and affordable housing initiatives, home improvement, reverse mortgages and construction or renovation of a permanent home.

As always, do your homework, do the math, and then make a judgment as to what best suits your needs and budget for the long term.

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