The Arizona jumbo loan limits play a large role in what may or may not be available to you. Knowing and understanding the limits allow house hunting to stay an exciting experience.
Where it may seem not-so-exciting is finding the loan to finance that home. You have three primary mortgage options to choose from: FHA loans, conventional loans and jumbo loans. Each type of loan has unique financing requirements, including a minimum credit score and a maximum debt-to-income ratio. While you may be familiar with these criteria, you may not know the Arizona loan limits for each type of financing.
Let’s explore what loan limits are, why they matter and the specific limitations of each loan type. This will help you make the best decision when it comes time to purchase your new Arizona home.
What Are Loan Limits?
There are limitations to how much money you can borrow. This amount is based on your income, creditworthiness and debt-to-income ratio.
The debt-to-income ratio is calculated by adding up monthly debt payments and dividing it by the gross monthly income. Generally, your debt-to-income ratio has to be under 50% to get a mortgage in Arizona, but most lenders want it to be around 45% or less.
Individual borrowers aren’t the only ones facing restrictions during the homebuying process. Lenders are limited in how much they can provide you for the purchase of a home. This is because the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has instituted stringent regulations regarding home loans.
In order to conform to these standards, lenders must adhere to these guidelines. However, some lenders can offer non-conforming or non-QM loans to buyers. These loans offer flexibility in terms of credit score and income. This type of financing may offer less favorable rates, so it is generally used as a bridge loan until the buyer is eligible for more traditional mortgage options.
Now we’ll look at the loan limits for each of the three major loan types.
What Is an FHA Loan?
An FHA loan is a specific type of mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA-approved lenders must issue these loans.
FHA loans expand access to borrowers in the low-to-moderate income range. Most of the time, FHA loans have less stringent credit score and down payment requirements than conventional mortgages.
As of 2022, an FHA loan allows you to borrow as much as 96.5% of a home’s value, requiring a down payment of only 3.5%. This is substantially lower than the typical 10-20% required when financing a home with a conventional loan.
However, homebuyers with a credit score under 580 will need to put 10% down. The FHA program allows you to cover down payment costs with grants, financial gifts, or your savings. Most conventional loans on the other hand will require you to cover down payment costs from your own financial means and won’t accept funds received as a gift or grant.
There’s a common misconception that the Federal Housing Administration provides FHA loans. The funds are actually provided from an FHA-approved lender, but the FHA guarantees your loan.
Current Arizona Loan Limits for FHA Financing
For 2022, Arizona FHA loan limits are set between $420,680 and $441,600. While it may seem strange that the FHA has two different loan limits for the state, this is a widespread practice varying by county.
The FHA tries to adjust its loan limits based on average home values in the area. However, most states have heavily developed regions that experience above-average home values. For instance, it will cost far more to purchase a home in New York City than in Ithaca, NY.
If you want to purchase a home using an FHA loan in most areas of Arizona, your mortgage will be capped at $420,680. However, Phoenix and most of Maricopa County are subject to an FHA loan limit of $441,600. Certain areas of Coconino County may also be eligible for the higher Arizona loan limit.
The numbers outlined above are for single-family homes. The FHA sets Arizona loan limits for two-, three- and four-family residences as well. For instance, the FHA loan limit for a four-family home in Maricopa County is $849,250. Take these differences into account when you’re shopping for your new property.
What Is a Conventional Loan?
Conventional loans are mortgages that have no backing from state or federal government agencies. This type of financing can be further divided into conforming and non-conforming loans.
Since we’re discussing Arizona jumbo loan limits, we will focus our attention on conforming conventional loans. Non-conforming mortgages do not adhere to loan limits.
While they are not guaranteed by any government agency, conventional loans still follow the lending rules created by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae). These regulations are intended to help lenders determine who they should finance without opening themselves up to undue risks.
Conventional loans are originated by private institutions like credit unions, banks, or mortgage lenders. These financial institutions can service the loan themselves or sell it off to larger entities. If an institution services your loan, they are collecting payments on the debt and making profits from your interest charges.
Whereas an FHA loan requires a credit score of 580, conventional mortgages typically have a threshold of 620. More selective lenders may require a minimum score of 660 or even higher.
Even if you meet the minimum requirements for a conventional loan, your interest rate will heavily depend on your debt repayment history and credit score. That’s why homebuyers with less-than-ideal credit histories often opt for more forgiving loan options like FHA financing.
Conventional Loan Limits in Arizona
In 2022, the FHFA set conventional Arizona jumbo loan limits at $647,200. Unlike FHA mortgages, the conventional home loan limits are consistent across all counties. However, these limits are roughly $150K-$200K higher than the FHA limitations.
Conventional loan limits do increase based on home type. A single-family residence loan is capped at $647,200, duplexes at $828,700, three-unit structures at $1,001,650, and four-unit residences at $1,244,850.
What Is a Jumbo Loan?
What if you want to purchase a single-family home valued above the conventional loan threshold? You’ll need to apply for a jumbo loan. A jumbo loan is a means of financing a property that exceeds conventional and conforming mortgage restrictions.
Jumbo mortgages are a specific class of non-conforming loans. They pose a higher risk to the lender because neither Freddie Mac nor Fannie Mae guarantees them. This means that the financial institution has no protections if the borrower defaults on the loan. Most lenders offer jumbo loans with adjustable or fixed rates.
Due to the added risk, your application will be stringently reviewed before financing is approved. Most lenders require jumbo loan recipients to have a credit score of 700+. In addition, they will assess your debt-to-income ratio to ensure you are in a good position to repay the loan. The standard cap for jumbo loans is a DTI of 45% or less.
Lenders may also consider your cash reserves when assessing your eligibility for a jumbo loan. Many financial institutions will ask applicants to prove that they have one year’s worth of mortgage payments in liquid assets.
Do Jumbo Loans Have Limits?
Technically, jumbo loans do not have lending limits. That is why they are classified as non-conforming loans. However, the funds you can obtain through a jumbo loan will be limited based on your unique financial situation.
For jumbo loans less than $2 million, most lenders require a maximum DTI of 45% and a down payment of 10%.
If you’re seeking financing for a property over $2 million, the credit score requirements may be even more restrictive. The lender may require a higher down payment percentage as well. Depending on the lender’s specific requirements, this down payment could potentially be in the 20%-30% range.
Why Do Arizona Jumbo Loan Limits Change?
The Federal Housing Finance Agency releases loan limit updates annually. This does not mean they are obligated to raise Arizona loan limits.
In fact, national loan limits on conventional mortgages were frozen from 2006 to 2016. During this 11-year stretch, conventional loans were capped at $417,000.
The FHFA finally upped conventional loan limits to $424,100 in 2017 and have increased every year since. In November 2021, the FHFA raised conventional loan limits by $76,750, the highest single-year increase in over two decades.
The purpose of this Arizona loan limit increase is to improve access to more affordable homebuying products like conventional and FHA loans.
Navigate the Homebuying Process with Agave Home Loans
While understanding conforming loan limits is a huge first step in making the right mortgage decision, buying a home is still an extremely complex process.
That’s why it’s important to have an experienced mortgage team in your corner. Reach out to the team at Agave Home Loans.
Our experts are here to help whether you’re making your first purchase, refinancing to take advantage of historically low interest rates, or curious about the homebuying process. We’ll explore your financing options and help you to find the right fit for your specific needs. Give us a call today!