Zero-down USDA Guaranteed Loans are the most popular rural development mortgage program in Pennsylvania. These loans are available for anyone with low to moderate income to purchase a home in approved rural areas with no down payment.  The USDA Guaranteed Loan Program is also the favorite no-down payment mortgage in Pennsylvania for non-veterans today, and can be used for a broader range of applicant incomes than USDA Direct Loans.

What are Pennsylvania USDA Loans?

The USDA loan program was created by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, also known as “USDA RD”. USDA Guaranteed Loans (also known as USDA Section 502 Guaranteed Loans) are a mortgage program for low and moderate income mortgage applicants. Pennsylvania USDA loans provide low-cost, government insured mortgage options that suit a variety of home buying needs. The most common mortgages offered through USDA are known as “Guaranteed” loans. USDA Guaranteed Loans are 100% financing mortgages, which means you can use them to buy a home with no down payment.

Pennsylvania USDA Loan Requirements

USDA loan requirements mainly focus on the home loan applicant and the property. First off, the home must be located in an approved rural areas to be considered eligible for USDA financing. Second off, the home buyer must meet all income requirements set forth by USDA. These income limits are established through a combination of debt-to-income ratios and income ceilings that equal 115% of the area median income (AMI) for the particular area. Statewide, Pennsylvania carries a median household income of $61,744, but that can vary from county to county. Ultimately, the applicant must also meet all lender requirements for mortgage approval which include:

  • Credit Requirements
  • Income Requirements
  • Documentation Requirements

Pennsylvania USDA Loan Limits

USDA doesn’t set specific maximum loan amounts for guaranteed mortgages. Instead, local limits are determined by a combination of the area USDA maximum income limit and the borrower’s debt-to-income ratios. This approach means that guaranteed Pennsylvania USDA loan limits are fluid and based upon numerous factors. The limits listed below are based on approximate calculations. Actual guaranteed loan limits may vary.

1-4 Person Households
5-8 Person Households
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA HUD Metro FMR Area$323,000$408,000
Altoona, PA MSA$306,000$391,000
Armstrong County, PA HUD Metro FMR Area$306,000$391,000
Bedford County, PA$306,000$391,000
Bradford County, PA$306,000$391,000
Cameron County, PA$306,000$391,000
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA MSA$306,000$408,000
Clarion County, PA$306,000$391,000
Clearfield County, PA$306,000$391,000
Clinton County, PA$306,000$391,000
Columbia County, PA HUD Metro FMR Area$306,000$391,000
Crawford County, PA$306,000$391,000
East Stroudsburg, PA MSA$323,000$408,000
Elk County, PA$306,000$391,000
Erie, PA MSA$306,000$391,000
Forest County, PA$306,000$391,000
Fulton County, PA$306,000$391,000
Gettysburg, PA MSA$323,000$417,000
Greene County, PA$306,000$391,000
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA MSA$323,000$417,000
Huntingdon County, PA$306,000$391,000
Indiana County, PA$306,000$391,000
Jefferson County, PA$306,000$391,000
Johnstown, PA MSA$306,000$391,000
Juniata County, PA$306,000$391,000
Lancaster, PA MSA$306,000$408,000
Lawrence County, PA$306,000$391,000
Lebanon, PA MSA$306,000$391,000
McKean County, PA$306,000$391,000
Mifflin County, PA$306,000$391,000
Montour County, PA HUD Metro FMR Area$306,000$391,000
Northumberland County, PA$306,000$391,000
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA$357,000$466,000
Pike County, PA HUD Metro FMR Area$306,000$391,000
Pittsburgh, PA HUD Metro FMR Area$323,000$417,000
Potter County, PA$306,000$391,000
Reading, PA MSA$306,000$408,000
Schuylkill County, PA$306,000$391,000
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre, PA MSA$306,000$391,000
Sharon, PA HUD Metro FMR Area$306,000$391,000
Snyder County, PA$306,000$391,000
Somerset County, PA$306,000$391,000
State College, PA MSA$357,000$466,000
Sullivan County, PA$306,000$391,000
Susquehanna County, PA$306,000$391,000
Tioga County, PA$306,000$391,000
Union County, PA$306,000$391,000
Venango County, PA$306,000$391,000
Warren County, PA$306,000$391,000
Wayne County, PA$306,000$391,000
Williamsport, PA MSA$306,000$391,000
York-Hanover, PA MSA$306,000$408,000

Additional USDA Limits

What is the maximum amount that I can borrow with a USDA Loan?

The maximum amount for a USDA home loan in Pennsylvania is determined by:

  • Maximum Loan Amount: There’s no set maximum loan amount for USDA rural home loans in PA. Instead, your debt-to-income ratios dictate how much home your can afford (29/41 ratios). Additionally, your total household monthly income must be within USDA allowed maximum income limits for your area. Maximum USDA Guaranteed Loan income limits for all areas can be found at here.
  • Maximum Financing: The maximum USDA Rural Development Loan amount in PA is 100% of the home’s appraised value plus the 1% USDA RD Loan guarantee fee.

What types of loans does USDA offer in Pennsylvania?

Two USDA home loan options are presently available in Pennsylvania for single family households. These programs are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture by way of its Rural Development Housing Loans:

  • Pennsylvania USDA Guaranteed Home Loans – Guaranteed Loans the most common Rural Housing Loans in Pennsylvania, because they accommodate higher income limits and 100% financing for home purchases. USDA Guaranteed applicants may have an income of up to 115% of the median household income for the area, which average $61,744 across the state. Specific area income limits for the program can be viewed here. All USDA Guaranteed Loans carry 30 year terms and are set at a fixed rate.
  • Pennsylvania USDA Direct Home Loans – USDA Direct Housing Loans in Pennsylvania are less common than USDA Guaranteed Loans and are only available for low and very low income households to obtain homeownership, as defined by the USDA. Very low income is defined as below 50 percent of the area median income (AMI); low income is between 50 and 80 percent of AMI; moderate income is 80 to 100 percent of AMI. Click here to see area income limits for this program.

What factors determine if I’m eligible for a USDA Loan in Pennsylvania?

To be eligible for a USDA loan in Pennsylvania, your monthly housing costs (mortgage principal and interest, property taxes, and insurance) must meet a specified percentage of your gross monthly income (29% ratio). Your credit background will be fairly considered. A 620 FICO credit score is generally required to obtain a USDA Rural Housing Loan approval through most lenders. You must also have enough income to pay your housing costs plus all additional monthly debt (41% ratio). These ratios can be exceeded somewhat with compensating factors. Applicants for loans may have an income of up to 115% of the median income for the area. Families must be without adequate housing, but be able to afford the mortgage payments, including taxes and insurance.

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

Rural Development Mortgages in Pennsylvania require no down payment and they allow for the closing costs to be included in the loan amount (appraisal permitting).

What property types are allowed for USDA Mortgages?

While USDA Guidelines do require that the property be Owner Occupied (OO), they also allow you to purchase condos, planned unit developments, manufactured homes, and single family residences.

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