What are Conventional Loans and Conforming Loans?

By definition, a Conventional Loan is any mortgage that’s not guaranteed or insured by the federal government. California conventional loans may be either “conforming” and “non-conforming”, although ‘conventional loans’ generally refer to ‘conforming loans’. Therefore California conventional loan limits are the same thing as California conforming loan limits.

California Conventional Loan Limits

What is the maximum amount that I can borrow?

Conventional loan limits in California are determined by:

  • California Conventional Loan LimitsMaximum LTV Ratio:  The maximum financing loan-to-value ratio for conventional mortgages is 80% – 97% of the appraised value of the home or its selling price, whichever is lower. Learn how to calculate loan-to-value.
  • Maximum Loan Amount: Conventional loan limits in California vary across the state. Metro areas in CA with a floor conforming limit of $424,100 include include Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton and Modesto. Higher mortgage limits apply for Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Cruz.

Search all Conventional Loan Limits in California:

County Name
ALAMEDASAN FRANCISCO-OAKLAND-BERKELEY, CA$765,600$980,325$1,184,925$1,472,550
BUTTECHICO, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
CONTRA COSTASAN FRANCISCO-OAKLAND-BERKELEY, CA$765,600$980,325$1,184,925$1,472,550
DEL NORTECRESCENT CITY, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
EL DORADOSACRAMENTO-ROSEVILLE-FOLSOM, CA$569,250$728,750$880,900$1,094,700
FRESNOFRESNO, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
HUMBOLDTEUREKA-ARCATA, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
IMPERIALEL CENTRO, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
KERNBAKERSFIELD, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
KINGSHANFORD-CORCORAN, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
LAKECLEARLAKE, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
LASSENSUSANVILLE, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
LOS ANGELESLOS ANGELES-LONG BEACH-ANAHEIM, CA$765,600$980,325$1,184,925$1,472,550
MADERAMADERA, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
MARINSAN FRANCISCO-OAKLAND-BERKELEY, CA$765,600$980,325$1,184,925$1,472,550
MENDOCINOUKIAH, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
MERCEDMERCED, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
MONTEREYSALINAS, CA$672,750$861,250$1,041,050$1,293,750
NAPANAPA, CA$764,750$979,000$1,183,400$1,470,700
NEVADATRUCKEE-GRASS VALLEY, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
ORANGELOS ANGELES-LONG BEACH-ANAHEIM, CA$765,600$980,325$1,184,925$1,472,550
PLACERSACRAMENTO-ROSEVILLE-FOLSOM, CA$569,250$728,750$880,900$1,094,700
SACRAMENTOSACRAMENTO-ROSEVILLE-FOLSOM, CA$569,250$728,750$880,900$1,094,700
SAN BENITOSAN JOSE-SUNNYVALE-SANTA CLARA, CA$765,600$980,325$1,184,925$1,472,550
SAN DIEGOSAN DIEGO-CHULA VISTA-CARLSBAD, CA$701,500$898,050$1,085,550$1,349,050
SAN FRANCISCOSAN FRANCISCO-OAKLAND-BERKELEY, CA$765,600$980,325$1,184,925$1,472,550
SAN JOAQUINSTOCKTON, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
SAN LUIS OBISPOSAN LUIS OBISPO-PASO ROBLES, CA$690,000$883,300$1,067,750$1,326,950
SAN MATEOSAN FRANCISCO-OAKLAND-BERKELEY, CA$765,600$980,325$1,184,925$1,472,550
SANTA BARBARASANTA MARIA-SANTA BARBARA, CA$625,500$800,775$967,950$1,202,925
SANTA CLARASAN JOSE-SUNNYVALE-SANTA CLARA, CA$765,600$980,325$1,184,925$1,472,550
SANTA CRUZSANTA CRUZ-WATSONVILLE, CA$765,600$980,325$1,184,925$1,472,550
SHASTAREDDING, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
SOLANOVALLEJO, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
SONOMASANTA ROSA-PETALUMA, CA$704,950$902,450$1,090,850$1,355,700
STANISLAUSMODESTO, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
SUTTERYUBA CITY, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
TEHAMARED BLUFF, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
TULAREVISALIA, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
TUOLUMNESONORA, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700
VENTURAOXNARD-THOUSAND OAKS-VENTURA, CA$713,000$912,750$1,103,350$1,371,150
YOLOSACRAMENTO-ROSEVILLE-FOLSOM, CA$569,250$728,750$880,900$1,094,700
YUBAYUBA CITY, CA$510,400$653,550$789,950$981,700

California conforming limits can change anytime. Check back often to ensure accuracy.

What factors determine if i’m eligible for a Conventional Loan in California?

Conventional conforming loans follow the terms and conditions set forth by government sponsored enterprises (GSE’s) like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. To be eligible for a Conforming Loan in California, your monthly housing costs (mortgage principal and interest, property taxes, and insurance) must meet a specified percentage of your gross monthly income. Your credit background will be considered. A FICO credit score of 620 or above is generally required to obtain a conventional loan approval. You must also have enough income to pay your housing costs plus all additional monthly debt.

How much money will I need for the down payment and closing costs?

Conventional home loans require the home buyer to invest between 3% and 20% of the sales price towards the down payment and closing costs. If the sales price is $100,000 for example, the mortgage applicant must invest at least $3,000 – $20,000 to meet conventional mortgage down payment requirements, depending on the program.

Minimum California Conventional Loan Down Payment:

Residence UsageFixed-Rate Mortgage (FRM)Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)
1 Unit Primary3% Down Payment10% Down Payment
2 Units Primary15% Down Payment25% Down Payment
3 Units Primary25% Down Payment35% Down Payment
4 Units Primary25% Down Payment35% Down Payment
1 Unit Second Home10% Down Payment20% Down Payment
1 Unit Investment15% Down Payment25% Down Payment
2 Units Investment25% Down Payment35% Down Payment
3 Units Investment25% Down Payment35% Down Payment
4 Units Investment25% Down Payment35% Down Payment

What property types are allowed for Conventional Conforming Mortgages?

CA Conforming Loan RequirementsConventional mortgage guidelines allow you to purchase warrantable condos, planned unit developments, modular homes, manufactured homes, and 1-4 family residences. Conventional loans can be used to finance primary residences, second homes and investment property.

Learn more about conventional mortgages.

What types of mortgage and refinance programs do Conventional Loans offer in California?

There are several varieties of standard home purchase, first-time home buyer and conventional refinance loans available in California:

  • Conventional Purchase Loans – Conventional loans offer a variety of programs for applicants with good credit ratings to buy a home. Both 3% down mortgage and 5% down mortgage options are available, however 20% down is the minimum amount required to avoid private mortgage insurance.
  • Conventional Rate/Term Refinance: Conventional Rate/Term refinancing loans are for borrowers who currently have an FHA, VA, USDA or conventional fixed rate mortgage or ARM loan and wish to refinance into a conventional mortgage with a lower interest rate. If you’re a homeowners considering a stable, conventional fixed-rate mortgage, this program may also eliminate your mortgage insurance if you have at 20% equity in your home.  If not, Conventional 97% loan programs may also work for you.
  • Cash-Out Refinance: A Conventional Cash Out Refinance is perfect for the homeowner who wants to access the equity that they have built up in their home. This program is beneficial to homeowners whose property has increased in value since it was purchased.

What factors determine if I am eligible for a Conventional Refinance Loan?

To meet conventional refinance mortgage requirements in California, your monthly housing costs (mortgage principal and interest, property taxes, and insurance) must meet a specified percentage of your gross monthly income. Your credit background will be considered. You must be able to cover closing costs and have enough income to pay your monthly debt.

Conventional Loan Requirements

More California Mortgage Limits

You may also want to visit these additional home loan resources before deciding on a mortgage program:

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Refinance     Purchase

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