Conventional High Balance Loan Options In California

Conventional high balance is a term the stands for home loans over $417,000 up to the specific county conventional loan limit.  Each California County has their own conventional (Fannie Mae) loan limit.  For example, Los Angeles County’s conventional loan limit is $625,500.  So a loan between $417,000 and $625,50o would be considered a conventional “high balance” loan.  As opposed to a conventional conforming loan which is below $417,000.  Conventional high balance loans have some of their own particular guidelines such as below:

  • The minimum down payment for a high balance loan is 10% (where a conforming loan the minimum down payment is 3%)
  • If a borrower puts 10% down on a high balance loan, the mortgage insurance will be higher than if a borrower put 10% down on a conforming loan
  • You only need to wait two years after a short sale to apply for a high balance loan

Some of the high balance limits for specific counties in California are below:

  • San Diego County: $546,250
  • Los Angeles County: $625,500
  • Orange County: $625,500
  • Sacramento County: $474,950
  • Napa County:$592,250
  • Sonoma County:$520,950
  • Ventura County: $598,000
  • Contra Costa County: $625,500
  • San Francisco County:$625,000
  • Santa Clara County: $625,500
  • San Mateo County: $625,500

Many of the rest of the counties in California such as Fresno, Shasta, Stanislaus, Kern, Riverside, and San Bernardino have conventional loan limits of $417,000.  There high balance guidelines do not apply since you cannot go over the conforming loan limits in those counties.

I hope this article helps you understand the difference between conventional (Fannie Mae) conforming and high balance home loans.  If you have any questions at all don’t hesitate to email me at or call 858-922-7899.


Rob Chomentowski

Sr. Loan Officer

Affinity Financial


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