Jumbo vs. Conventional Loans

Jumbo vs. Conventional Loans

If you’re seeking financing for a home over a million dollars, chances are you have heard these options: jumbo loans and conventional loans. A conventional loan, typically offered by private lenders, is what most people think of when considering a mortgage — a fixed interest rate loan covering most of a home’s purchase price. While a jumbo loan technically falls under the conventional loan category, it is distinct in several key ways, particularly in the amount of money it allows you to borrow.

What Defines Jumbo and Conventional Loans?

A conventional loan is not backed by the federal government but instead originated, financed, and guaranteed by private lenders. These loans can be either conforming or nonconforming. Conforming loans meet the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) requirements, including loan size limits that vary by state and county. For 2024, the conforming loan limit is $766,550 in most areas, rising to $1,149,825 in high-cost areas. Conforming loans can be bought by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reducing lenders’ risk. Jumbo loans, on the other hand, are nonconforming due to their size. They are necessary for purchasing high-priced homes exceeding conforming loan limits, allowing borrowers to secure larger amounts — often up to $3 million or more.

Comparing Jumbo and Conforming Loans

Though both jumbo and conforming loans are conventional, they have significant differences. Jumbo loans require a higher credit score (minimum 700) compared to conforming loans (minimum 620). The down payment for jumbo loans is also larger, typically 20-25%, while conforming loans may require as little as 3-5%. Debt-to-income (DTI) ratios for jumbo loans are stricter, and borrowers need substantial cash reserves, sometimes up to 12 months’ worth. Interest rates on jumbo loans are generally higher due to the increased risk to lenders, although competitive rates are still available, influenced by broader economic factors and individual financial profiles.

Choosing the Right Loan for You

Deciding between a jumbo and a conventional loan depends on your financial situation and home-buying goals. Jumbo loans are ideal for purchasing luxury homes or properties in high-cost areas, especially if you have a high income, excellent credit, and can afford a significant down payment. Conforming loans are better suited for moderate-priced homes within local loan limits, particularly if you have a lower income, less savings, and need a smaller down payment. Of course feel free to schedule a consultation with us on our website and we can help review the differences and requirements of each loan type will help you make an informed decision tailored to your specific needs.