New Loan Limits Announced – But Not For Santa Barbara?

By Thomas C. Schultheis
2019 President 
Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS® 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that it is raising the conforming loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to $510,400 on one-unit properties and a cap of $765,600 in high-cost areas. The previous loan limits were $484,350 and $726,525, respectively. 

While this is great news for homebuyers in general, Santa Barbara County maintained a lower conforming loan limit ($625,500) rather than the maximum for high-cost areas ($765,600). This is problematic for homebuyers in South Santa Barbara County because of the high costs of homes. 

The conforming loan limit determines the maximum size of a mortgage that government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy or “guarantee.” Non-conforming or “jumbo loans” typically have tighter underwriting standards and sometimes carry higher mortgage interest rates than conforming loans, increasing monthly payments and hampering the ability of families in California to purchase homes by making them less affordable.

In true REALTOR® fashion, the SBAOR membership came together to advocate for homebuyers by sending in letters to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) demanding to increase the conforming loan limit to the maximum in Santa Barbara County. We are hopeful that this request will be successful, and will keep readers informed if and when the increase occurs.  

REALTORS® exhibit pride in their everyday actions and go above and beyond to improve the lives of their clients, consumers, and their communities. #thatswhoweR

Thomas C. Schultheis is a Santa Barbara native and a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. In addition to his work on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, Thomas holds a Broker’s license and additional designations. Thomas lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and their two-year old son. He can be reached at 729-2802 or


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