Loan limits raised on home loans in the Seattle area

Distant shot of Seattle neighborhood

For the fourth straight year, the Federal Housing Finance Agency raised the conforming loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (By law, conforming loan limits must be adjusted to reflect changes in home prices across the U.S.)

Across most of the U.S. the 2020 loan limit will be raised to $510,400, an increase of nearly 5.4% from last year’s level of $484,350. In high-cost areas, including three counties in Washington state, the limit increases to $741,750 (150% of $510,400).

The new $741,750 ceiling will apply in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Through November, the year-to-date median sales price for homes (including condos) in Pierce County was $364,100; in Snohomish County it was $474,000 and in King County it was $619,000.

With the exception of 43 counties across the country, plus Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, loan limits increased. Limits were unchanged in the 43 counties, and did not decrease anywhere in the U.S. and its territories.

With the latest increases, the conforming loan limit has now increased by more than $93,000 since 2016. FHFA made no increases for the decade from 2006 to 2016.

Maximum loan amount
for 2020
Maximum loan amount for high-cost areas for 2020,
plus Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands
2 units $653,550 $980,325
3 units $789,950 $1,184,925
4 units $981,700 $1,472,550

In addition to Washington other states with high-cost areas include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The conforming loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are determined by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The FHFA published a full list of the 2020 loan limits for each county nationwide for borrowers to reference.