What is a Jumbo Mortgage in California?

by KC Hernandez ; Updated July 27, 2017
A mansion in California's Nappa Valley.

Homes in some California counties, especially coastal areas, come with big price tags. Homebuyers can finance high-end homes with jumbo mortgages. Also known as non-conforming loans, jumbo mortgages exceed certain loan limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In general, a jumbo loan exceeds Fannie and Freddie's conforming loan limits for a specific type of property, but location can play a role in the limits that are set.

The Biggest Jumbo Loans

A loan amount of more than $417,000 on a single-family home is a jumbo mortgage in most parts of the country. In California's most expensive counties, including Los Angeles, Alameda, Marin, Orange, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz, the jumbo-loan threshold is higher due to higher median home prices. Jumbo mortgages in these high-cost areas have loan amounts above $625,500.

House Size Matters

Jumbo loans are generally used to finance large properties and luxury homes. A jumbo loan in California is even bigger on two- to four-unit homes. For example, a jumbo loan for a two-unit property in a non-high-cost area of the state exceeds $533,850. In a high-cost area, a jumbo loan for a duplex must exceed $800,775.

About the Author

K.C. Hernandez has covered real estate topics since 2009. She is a licensed real estate salesperson in San Diego since 2004. Her articles have appeared in community newspapers but her work is mostly online. Hernandez has a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA and works as the real estate expert for Demand Media Studios.

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