Each Year I Conform a Little More

If you know me, you know that I don’t like to stick to convention. I was the teenager who skipped college, moved to Hollywood and played rock guitar. In my 20’s, I saved up vacation time not for sandy white beaches but instead for expeditions to the harsh mountain environs of the world’s highest peaks. In my 30’s, I dove (literally) into the sport of triathlon — an endeavor, to quote my Aunt Marge, that would be something she’d “rather die a thousand deaths” before contemplating. When I come to the fork in the road where straight and narrow diverges from the path less traveled, you can bet your best Yogi Berra’ism that I’m gonna take the latter. So to write a blog post solely about the increase in conforming loan limits tests my own limits of conformity. But for once, I am going to go along with the crowd and talk about pending changes coming to the San Francisco Bay Area, and across the state of California, in 2019.

Let’s step back for a minute and recognize that for the entire state (and country), the current conforming loan limit for a single family residence is set at $453,100. In many of the higher cost, coastal counties of CA, we also have a “jumbo conforming,” “super conforming,” or “high-balance conforming” loan limit that exceeds this limit. For example, here in my home county of Marin, that limit is presently set at $679,650. Let’s look at how these will increase in 2019:

2018 Conforming Limit       2019 Conforming Limit

$453,100                                   $484,350

2018 High Balance Limit      2019 High Balance Limit        County

$679,650                                    $726,525                                       Marin

$679,650                                    $726,525                                       Alameda

$679,650                                    $726,525                                       Contra Costa

$615,250                                    $652,050                                       Monterey

$679,650                                    $726,525                                       Napa

$679,650                                    $726,525                                       San Benito

$679,650                                    $726,525                                       San Francisco

$679,650                                    $726,525                                       San Mateo

$679,650                                    $726,525                                       Santa Clara

$679,650                                    $726,525                                       Santa Cruz

$460,000                                    $494,500                                       Solano

$648,600                                    $704,950                                       Sonoma

We will begin to implement the new limits in December of 2018, so if you believe any of these increases will impact your purchase or refinance mortgage, please let me know. I am a big fan of the higher limits because a conforming loan generally provides an easier qualification compared to a jumbo mortgage, and simply because we have higher home prices in the Bay Area should not be a reason to subject borrowers to a more burdensome loan process. Yes, I realize that much of the country may not dance to the beat of my drummer. But even though I don’t conform to their point of view, my idea of conforming is increasing, and that’s a step in the right direction.

We don’t get fooled again, 


Robert J. Spinosa

Vice President of Mortgage Lending

Guaranteed Rate

NMLS: 22343

Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 Fax: 415-366-1590


Marin Office: 324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA 94960

Berkeley Office: 1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA 94709

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate. In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate’s Human Resources Department.

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