As part of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, Congress authorized a conforming loan limit increase in “high-cost” areas around the country. Versus the national conforming loan limit of $417,000, for example, a Manhattan home buyer could secure a 2008 mortgage for $725,000 and still be within “conforming” guidelines.
Effective January 1, however, those limits rolled back. Conforming mortgages in the 59 designated high-cost regions are now capped at $625,500.
In non-high-cost areas, the 2009 conforming loan limits remain unchanged from 2008.
Loans in excess of these dollar amounts are often called “jumbo”, or “super jumbo” home loans, depending on their size. Jumbo home loans tend to be more costly than their conforming-sized cousins.