The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced 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 was given a lower conforming loan limit ($625,500) rather than the maximum for high-cost areas ($765,600). This is problematic for homebuyers in Santa Barbara 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 Santa Barbara Association of Realtors (SBAOR) membership came together to advocate for homebuyers by sending letters to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) demanding to increase the conforming loan limit to the maximum.

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

Happy Holidays!

— Thomas Schultheis is with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, and can be reached at 805.729.2802 or