Conforming a Little More Each Year

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 2020.

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 $484,350.  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 $726,525.  Let’s look at how these will increase in 2020:

2019 Conforming Limit        2020 Conforming Limit

$484,350                                    $510,400

2019 High Balance Limit     2020 High Balance Limit     County

$726,525                                   $765,600                                      Marin

$726,525                                   $765,600                                      Alameda

$726,525                                   $765,600                                      Contra Costa

$652,050                                   $672,750                                      Monterey

$726,525                                   $764,750                                      Napa

$726,525                                   $765,600                                      San Benito

$726,525                                   $765,600                                      San Francisco

$726,525                                   $765,600                                      San Mateo

$726,525                                   $765,600                                      Santa Clara

$726,525                                   $765,600                                      Santa Cruz

$494,500                                   $494,500                                      Solano

$704,950                                   $704,950                                      Sonoma

As of the writing of this post (late December of 2019) we have already begun to implement the higher limits, 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
rob.spinosa@rate.com

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.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283

Jumbo Mortgages with 10% Down (80-10-10) 

Just a few short years ago, if a buyer here in the San Francisco Bay Area attempted to purchase a home with a 10% down payment, the call I would anticipate from the listing agent might have gone something like, “Uhhh, your buyer is only putting 10% down.  Can they even do that?”  But as we get 2019 underway, with some higher-priced homes sitting on the market for longer and others seeing price reductions from their original list price, savvy buyers are taking advantage of these trends and again putting forward strong offers — albeit some with only 10% down.  Can they still do this and win?

Of course the answer is “Yes!”  But since some doubt still swirls around the topic, why don’t we look closer at jumbo mortgages with 10% down.  Particularly the piggyback option.

“What is 80-10-10 Financing?”

I remember my grandmother calling the refrigerator a “Frigidaire” and our jeans “Dungarees.”  So it is with 80/10/10 financing.  It’s sort of the brand name we bandy about when what we’re really discussing is a concept, and the manifestation of that concept is subordinate financing, AKA as a “piggyback loan.”  Most simply described, a buyer using this structure will be obtaining two loans instead of one in the purchase of a home.  This is often referred to in broad strokes as an “80-10-10” loan.

“How Do 80/10/10 Loans Work?”

When we say “80/10/10” we are specifically implying the following:

  • A first mortgage to 80% of the home’s purchase price.
  • A second mortgage equal to 10% of the home’s purchase price.
  • A buyer’s down payment for the remaining 10% of the purchase price.

Since the lending world is replete with guidelines, it doesn’t always play out exactly this way, and for any number of reasons.  Just keep in mind that “80-10-10” could also just as easily be 75-15-10, or sometimes when we need to use a conforming first mortgage, you could even see a 62-28-10, for example.  You get the idea, we don’t always have to be at a strict 80% and 10% for the loan amounts.  But no matter how we structure the transaction, the sum of both loan amounts plus the down payment will equal 100% of the purchase price.

“Can I Qualify for a Piggyback Mortgage”

 When obtaining a jumbo 80-10-10 loan, the first mortgage will typically be a fixed rate loan (30-year fixed) or a hybrid ARM (10/1 ARM, 7/1 ARM or 5/1 ARM).  The second mortgage is most often a home equity line of credit (HELOC).  There can be different qualifying criteria for both loans and your loan officer will have to navigate two sets of guidelines in most cases.  Not all loan originators are adept at subordinate financing but for my clients, the pre-approval process for a piggyback loan is identical to the process for obtaining a single loan — we understand it on every level.  While an 80-10-10 can sometimes be harder to obtain than a single loan, there are also cases where it can enable an approval that otherwise would not exist.  For example, a buyer may not qualify for a single loan of $750,000, but may pass with flying colors if the loan is restructured as a first mortgage of $625,000 and a second loan of $125,000.  Same total sum borrowed, but two very different outcomes.

As a home buyer looking for a jumbo loan with a 10% down payment, it may be intimidating to search for the perfect loan options.  A preponderance of outdated and confusing information will often greet you “in the field,” and many real estate professionals will still tell you a 10% down payment jumbo loan is not possible.  But as we stand on the cusp of 2019, we presently have the capacity to allow a buyer to make a 10% down payment, using the 80-10-10 structure, on a purchase price almost as high as $2,200,000.  And here in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is not an uncommon scenario.  Get in touch today if you have a home loan need of this nature!

Happy New Year!

Robert J. Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending
Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 Fax: 415-366-1590
rob.spinosa@rate.com
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.

Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 – (866) 934-7283