Conforming Loan Limits for California - 2019

Family standing in front of their new home
There are four primary mortgages that are offered by banks and mortgage companies. Namely, the FHA, VA, USDA and conventional mortgages. The FHA mortgage (Federal Housing Administration), USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and VA (Veteran's Administration) are all backed by a federal agency. The conventional loans are not backed by the federal government, but meet the lending requirements of two quasi-government agencies, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).

Conventional mortgages are often called "conforming" loans because the loan "conforms" to the loan guidelines of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Think of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as a bank for banks. Fannie and Freddie purchase mortgages from banks and mortgage companies. The arrangement works like this. The bank or mortgage company provides the mortgage money to the home buyer and after settlement, the mortgage is sold to either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The company that the mortgage is sold to reimburses the bank for the loan and pays the bank or mortgage company a commission for the loan. This is the reason why the banks never run out of money to lend to prospective home buyers.

Fannie Mae came into existence in 1938 during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal legislation. At that time, banks were reluctant to loan money because of the fear that the borrower would default on the loan, but with the creation of the Federal National Mortgage Association, the banks were able to shift the risk to Fannie Mae. Freddie Mac came into existence in 1970 to compete with Fannie Mae and increase the money supply to prospective home buyers.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will only purchase mortgages that meet their lending guidelines. The minimum down payment for the conventional loans is 5%, however, Fannie and Freddie offers special financing for first time home buyers. Fannie Mae offers the Conventional 97, a 3% down payment program and the HomeReady™ 3% down program for low to moderate first timers.

Conventional loans have a maximum lending limit. The maximum loan amount is set by the  Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) each year. The maximum loan amount will vary by California county. High priced California counties get a higher loan limit. Conventional loans that exceed the annual loan limit are known as "jumbo" loans. A jumbo loan can also be called conforming if the loan meets all of the conditions of a conventional loan other than the loan limit. These loans are called jumbo conforming mortgages.

2019 Conforming Loan Limits for California Counties

County Name One-Unit Limit Two-Unit Limit Three-Unit Limit Four-Unit Limit
ALAMEDA 726,525 930,300 1,124,475 1,397,400
ALPINE 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
AMADOR 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
BUTTE 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
CALAVERAS 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
COLUSA 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
CONTRA COSTA 726,525 930,300 1,124,475 1,397,400
DEL NORTE 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
EL DORADO 552,000 706,650 854,200 1,061,550
FRESNO 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
GLENN 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
HUMBOLDT 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
IMPERIAL 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
INYO 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
KERN 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
KINGS 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
LAKE 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
LASSEN 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
LOS ANGELES 726,525 930,300 1,124,475 1,397,400
MADERA 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
MARIN 726,525 930,300 1,124,475 1,397,400
MARIPOSA 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
MENDOCINO 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
MERCED 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
MODOC 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
MONO 529,000 677,200 818,600 1,017,300
MONTEREY 652,050 834,750 1,009,000 1,253,950
NAPA 726,525 930,300 1,124,475 1,397,400
NEVADA 486,450 622,750 752,750 935,500
ORANGE 726,525 930,300 1,124,475 1,397,400
PLACER 552,000 706,650 854,200 1,061,550
PLUMAS 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
RIVERSIDE 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
SACRAMENTO 552,000 706,650 854,200 1,061,550
SAN BENITO 726,525 930,300 1,124,475 1,397,400
SAN BERNARDINO 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
SAN DIEGO 690,000 883,300 1,067,750 1,326,950
SAN FRANCISCO 726,525 930,300 1,124,475 1,397,400
SAN JOAQUIN 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
SAN LUIS OBISPO 667,000 853,900 1,032,150 1,282,700
SAN MATEO 726,525 930,300 1,124,475 1,397,400
SANTA BARBARA 625,500 800,775 967,950 1,202,925
SANTA CLARA 726,525 930,300 1,124,475 1,397,400
SANTA CRUZ 726,525 930,300 1,124,475 1,397,400
SHASTA 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
SIERRA 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
SISKIYOU 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
SOLANO 494,500 633,050 765,200 950,950
SONOMA 704,950 902,450 1,090,850 1,355,700
STANISLAUS 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
SUTTER 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
TEHAMA 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
TRINITY 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
TULARE 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
TUOLUMNE 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600
VENTURA 713,000 912,750 1,103,350 1,371,150
YOLO 552,000 706,650 854,200 1,061,550
YUBA 484,350 620,200 749,650 931,600