Fannie and Freddie Announce Higher Conventional Mortgage Limits for Hawaii Borrowers

Good news: It’s gotten even easier for Hawaii homebuyers to qualify for a conventional mortgage! The allowable cap on qualifying mortgages has been increased substantially to account for Hawaii’s high cost of housing. Effective January 1st, 2019, the new conforming loan limit for single-family homes and single condominiums for conventional mortgages is $726,525. What’s more, the new limit is effective in all counties in the State of Hawaii.

While the new limit may not sound like much in Hawaii these days, but it’s 150 percent more than the $484,350 limit that’s applicable in most of the rest of the country. It’s also a substantial increase from the previous limit of $679,650 that has applied to much of the state during 2018.

What’s a conforming loan?

A conforming loan is a mortgage that qualifies for backing by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These two quasi-government agencies buy mortgages that meet their criteria from issuing banks and other lenders right away. That way banks don’t have to wait until you pay off your mortgage before they can lend that money out again.

The conforming loan limit refers to the largest loan either agency will buy. There are other condition that these loans must meet as well, including a minimum credit score and maximum debt-to-income ratios. However, these rules have been loosening, too – so it’s been getting much easier to qualify for a mortgage.

Jumbo loans available

Note: If you need to borrow more than the conventional loan limit, we have programs for that, too. They’re called “jumbo loans.” Call us today for more details and to get pre-qualified.

Background

The Federal Housing Finance Agency – the federal agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced the changes in response to significant house price appreciation throughout the country. It’s the third annual increase in a row, after the limits had remained unchanged for a decade, and reflects the fact that house prices have caught up to their pre-recession highs in most markets across the country. This increase should make it much easier for Hawaii residents to get a mortgage big enough to purchase many of the homes here in the Islands.

Veteran borrowers also get a break: The Veterans Affairs mortgage limits are linked to the conventional limits by statute. So zero-down VA loan limits will match the conventional lending limit.

Duplexes, Triplexes and Quads (Oh My!)

The new $726,525 limit applies to single unit properties. But you can also get a conventional (that is, a Fannie- or Freddie-backed) mortgage for duplexes, triplexes and quads.

The new limits are as follows:

Duplexes: $726,525
3 units: $1,124,475
Quads: $1,397,400

These limits apply to all lenders when underwriting conventional mortgages, whether the loan is going to Fannie or Freddie.

Of course, there are a lot of homes in Hawaii selling at much higher price points than the new loan limit. If you need a larger loan, call us. Pacific Home Loans is a leader in helping our customers get “jumbo” mortgages, anywhere in the Islands.

To start the application process, click here. Or call us today at (808) 891-0415.

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