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Jumbo mortgage limits to fall in 2011

Posted by Cheryl Costa  September 29, 2010 10:16 AM

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Mortgage rates vary according to whether the mortgage is considered to be "conforming" or a "jumbo" and jumbo mortgages can carry interest rates that are higher by half a percent or more. So, if you are shopping for a new home, or a new mortgage, it is important to be aware of the jumbo loan limits and to try to stay under them.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency determines the limits for conforming loans and that limit was $417,000 in 2010. However, in 2008, as part of the economic stimulus package, this limit could be raised for certain high-cost areas. The highest permitted limit was extended at that time to $729,750. This limit was in place in very expensive cities in New York, California and Washington DC. In Massachusetts, the following counties were eligible for higher limits:

Barnstable County: $462,500

Bristol County: $475,000

Dukes County: $729,750

Essex County: $523,750

Middlesex County: $523,750

Nantucket: $729,750

Norfolk County: $523,750

Plymouth County: $523,750

Suffolk County: $523,750

(All other counties in Massachusetts are capped at the national $417,000 limit.)

These limits define the maximum loan amount which may be purchased by regulated agencies, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Loans larger than these limits may not be sold to the agencies.

Effective next year, the highest amount permitted even in the highest cost regions will drop to $625,500. So, if you are considering the purchase of new home that will require a jumbo mortgage, it might make sense to complete that purchase before the end of this year. After this year, rates for jumbo mortgages are expected to be considerably higher.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Local finance professionals share insights and advice on issues such as budgeting, managing debt, and retirement planning.

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D. Abraham Ringer is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner and a Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Boston. He is registered in MA, NH, NY and several other states to which his articles are directed. For more information please visit
Financial Planning Association™ of Massachusetts has 900 members who specialize in the financial planning process. Many of its members engage in philanthropic pro bono work in their communities, recommend legislation, elevate public awareness, promote financial literacy, and advocate for sound economic and tax policies.
Odysseas Papadimitriou is the founder of, a credit card and gift card marketplace, and, a personal finance site. He has more than 13 years of experience in the personal finance industry, and previously served as senior director at Capital One.

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