The maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2013 will remain at existing 2012 levels, per FHFA guidelines. In most of the country, the loan limit will be $417,000 for one-unit (single-family) properties. But in certain more expensive metro areas, the conforming limits are as high as $625,500. The confirming limits are what retail lenders (e.g Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase) use when in comes to determining rates for new and refinanced mortgages. Generally, you will get a lower rate if your loan amount is below the confirming limit because the loans can be sold (secured) to Freddie or Fannie.
The loan limits are established under the terms of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), and are calculated each year. The law sets loan limits as a function of median home values in local areas.While some counties saw increases in home prices in 2012, no loan limit increases were evident after other terms such as the statutory ceiling and floor were taken into account.
Loan Limits in High-Cost Areas – HERA provisions set loan limits as a function of local-area median home values. Where 115 percent of the local median home value exceeds the baseline loan limit ($417,000 in the most of the country), the local loan limit is set at 115 percent of the median home value. The local limit cannot, however, be more than 50 percent above the baseline limit. In the District of Columbia and all U.S. states except Alaska and Hawaii, the highest-possible local area loan limit for one-unit properties is $625,500 (150 percent of $417,000). A list of the 2013 maximum conforming loan limits for all counties and county-equivalent areas in the country can be found here.