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2019
VA Loan Limits

Check Your 2019 VA Loan Limits

2019 VA Loan Limits Up With Home Prices

 

On November 27, 2018, the VA announced updated VA loan limits for 2019, with the limit for most U.S. counties and territories increasing by nearly 7%. Higher loan limits will increase the percentage of homes that can potentially be financed with a VA loan and no down payment. This enhances the impact of the VA loan benefit for Veterans, especially considering that home prices have risen steeply for several years, making saving for a down payment more challenging for those who don’t enjoy this benefit.

VA loan limits have increased for three years in a row. The 2019 limits are set at $484,350, an increase of $31,250, from the previous year. The ceiling for high-cost counties also increased, to $726,525, up from $679,650 in 2017. Veterans have gains in home values to thank for the hike in loan limits, as all nine regions of the country saw an annual rise in home prices in 2019. The Mountain region saw the most gain at just under 9%.

2019’s VA loan limits may be good for Veterans who are hunting for a more expensive home. With soaring limits, a qualified borrower may be able to get a larger loan without having to cough up cash for a down payment. But, potential borrowers may need to watch for rising interest rates. According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Monthly Mortgage Survey (PMMS), 30-year rates ended 2017 just under 4%. But for 2018, rates will finish a whole point higher, just under 5%.

Freddie Mac predicts rates will continue to increase to 5.1% by the end of 2019. And while the government mortgage entity (GME) reports that higher rates and home prices may be discouraging for most borrowers, the professionals at Veterans First Mortgage have a different outlook and suggest that buying a home early in 2019 may be a solid strategic move. Homebuyers in Q1 2019 will be able to take advantage of higher loan limits, a robust housing market, and (relatively) competitive interest rates.

VA Loan Limits Explained

 

VA loan limits don’t “limit” the amount a Veteran can borrow using their home loan benefits, as the name implies. Instead, loan limits are the maximum loan amount that the VA is willing to back without a down payment. Typically, about 25% of a Veteran’s VA loan, up to the limit, is guaranteed for the lender by the government. For loans over the limit, lenders will ask the borrower to secure 25% of the amount above the limit in the form of a down payment. But with the new loan limit at $484,350, and the average VA loan being around $255,000, it is reasonable to expect that most loans will be obtained without a down payment.

How Are Baseline Loan Limits Calculated?

 

A baseline loan limit is simply the loan limit for most U.S. counties and territories where home prices are more in line with the national average. Over a decade ago, the baseline loan limit was $417,000, as defined by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008. Generally, loan limits are intended to reflect home prices in a specific location. But due to the 2008 housing crisis, it took time for the market to recover, and due to stipulations in HERA, the baseline loan limits stayed at $417,000 for nearly a decade.

Then in 2016, home prices rose almost everywhere. The FHFA published its third-quarter house price index (HPI), showing that the average prices had risen 1.7% above Q3 2007, which was right before the housing bubble burst. As a result, the baseline loan limit for 2017 was adjusted to reflect the correction in the housing market. Loan limits rose again for 2018. And due to a robust 2018 housing market, home prices rose again in almost all 50 states. Hence, VA loan limits are up again for 2019.

High-Cost Areas Have a New Ceiling of $726,525

 

Some areas of the country have very expensive homes, and to accommodate this, limits in certain places are higher than the baseline limit of $484,350. By FHFA’s definition, high-cost housing areas have at least 115% of their local median home values over the baseline loan limit. In other words, these are areas where the average home is notably more expensive. Limits in these areas are set at the median home value, rather than the baseline. This makes it more feasible for Veterans to utilize their benefits in expensive housing markets with zero-down VA loans.

Higher Loan Limits Reflect Rising Home Prices

 

Across the country, home prices are steadily increasing.

Here are some of the significant findings from the third quarter (Q3) 2018 HPI report:

  •   All 50 states and 99 of the 100 major metro areas saw home prices rise from a year ago.
  •   The five top-growth states were: 1) Idaho 15.1%; 2) Nevada 15.0%; 3) Washington 10.6%; 4) Utah 10.0%; and 5) Colorado 9.2%.
  •   The strongest metro area was Boise, ID, up 20.1%.
  •   The weakest metro area was Honolulu, HI (urban) down 5.2%.
  •   The strongest region was the Mountain Region, up 8.9% from last year.
  •   The regions with the lowest increases were New England, Middle Atlantic, and West South Central, all up less than 5% since Q3 2017.

According to data from FHFA, home prices increased from Q3 2014 to Q3 2015 by 5.7%, then by 6.1% from Q3 2015 to Q3 2016, and by 6.5% from Q3 2016 to Q3 2017. For Q3 2018, prices are up 6.3% annually. This is a much more rapid pace than the 4.9% increase FHFA predicted in its forecast.

Predicting the Future of Loan Limits

 

FHFA forecasts that the percent growth in home prices for 2019 will slow to a pace of 3.2%. And VA loan limits have traditionally followed housing market trends. So, if the home prices keep increasing, and no action is taken by the federal government to change how the limits are calculated, 2020 loan limits will likely rise as well.

For information about a VA loan in your area, get in touch with one of our team members here at Veterans First Mortgage.

VA Loan Limit Table

 

Are you curious about your current loan limits? Look yours up using the VA loan limit table below. If you don’t see your county, you can assume your current loan limit is the baseline $484,350. The loan limit table lists only high-cost places where limits are over the baseline. Loan limits are updated for each year on January 1st.

If you have questions, speak to one of our VA specialists at 800-217-1596.

State County or Area 2018 VA Limit 2019 VA Limit Regional Loan Center
Alaska Aleutians East $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Aleutians West $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Anchorage $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Bethel $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Bristol Bay $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Denali $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Dillingham $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Fairbanks North $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Haines $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Hoonah-Angoon $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Juneau $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Kenai Peninsula $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Ketchikan Gateway $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Kodiak Island $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Kusilvak Census Area $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Lake and Peninsula $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Matanuska-Susitna $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Nome $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska North Slope $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Northwest Arctic $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Petersburg Census Area $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Prince of Wales $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Sitka $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Skagway Municipality $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Southeast Fairbanks $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Valdez-Cordova $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Wrangell City Area $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Yakutat City $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Alaska Yukon-Koyukuk $679,650 $726,525 Denver
California Alameda $679,650 $726,525 Phoenix
California Contra Costa $679,650 $726,525 Phoenix
California El Dorado $517,500 $552,000 Phoenix
California Los Angeles $679,650 $726,525 Phoenix
California Marin $679,650 $726,525 Phoenix
California Mono $529,000 $529,000 Phoenix
California Monterey $615,250 $652,050 Phoenix
California Napa $679,650 $726,525 Phoenix
California Nevada $477,250 $486,450 Phoenix
California Orange $679,650 $726,525 Phoenix
California Placer $517,500 $552,000 Phoenix
California Sacramento $517,500 $552,000 Phoenix
California San Benito $679,650 $726,525 Phoenix
California San Diego $649,750 $690,000 Phoenix
California San Francisco $679,650 $726,525 Phoenix
California San Luis Obispo $615,250 $667,000 Phoenix
California San Mateo $679,650 $726,525 Phoenix
California Santa Barbara $625,500 $625,500 Phoenix
California Santa Clara $679,650 $726,525 Phoenix
California Santa Cruz $679,650 $726,525 Phoenix
California Solano $460,000 $494,500 Phoenix
California Sonoma $648,600 $704,950 Phoenix
California Ventura $672,750 $713,000 Phoenix
California Yolo $517,500 $552,000 Phoenix
Colorado Adams $529,000 $561,200 Denver
Colorado Arapahoe $529,000 $561,200 Denver
Colorado Boulder $578,450 $626,750 Denver
Colorado Broomfield $529,000 $561,200 Denver
Colorado Clear Creek $529,000 $561,200 Denver
Colorado Denver $529,000 $561,200 Denver
Colorado Douglas $529,000 $561,200 Denver
Colorado Eagle $636,150 $696,900 Denver
Colorado Elbert $529,000 $561,200 Denver
Colorado Garfield $679,650 $718,750 Denver
Colorado Gilpin $529,000 $561,200 Denver
Colorado Jefferson $529,000 $561,200 Denver
Colorado Lake $625,500 $625,500 Denver
Colorado Park $529,000 $561,200 Denver
Colorado Pitkin $679,650 $718,750 Denver
Colorado Routt $625,500 $625,500 Denver
Colorado San Miguel $625,500 $625,500 Denver
Colorado Summit $625,500 $625,500 Denver
Connecticut Fairfield $601,450 $601,450 Cleveland
District of Columbia District of Columbia $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Florida Monroe $529,000 $529,000 St. Petersburg
Georgia Greene $515,200 $515,200 Atlanta
Guam Guam $679,650 $726,525 Honolulu
Hawaii Hawaii $679,650 $726,525 Honolulu
Hawaii Honolulu $721,050 $726,525 Honolulu
Hawaii Kalawao $679,650 $726,525 Honolulu
Hawaii Kauai $713,000 $726,525 Honolulu
Hawaii Maui $679,650 $726,525 Honolulu
Idaho Blaine $625,500 $625,500 Denver
Idaho Camas $625,500 $625,500 Denver
Idaho Lincoln $625,500 $625,500 Denver
Idaho Teton $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Maryland Anne Arundel $517,500 $517,500 Roanoke
Maryland Baltimore $517,500 $517,500 Roanoke
Maryland Baltimore City $517,500 $517,500 Roanoke
Maryland Calvert $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Maryland Carroll $517,500 $517,500 Roanoke
Maryland Charles $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Maryland Frederick $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Maryland Harford $517,500 $517,500 Roanoke
Maryland Howard $517,500 $517,500 Roanoke
Maryland Montgomery $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Maryland Prince George's $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Maryland Queen Anne's $517,500 $517,500 Roanoke
Massachusetts Dukes $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
Massachusetts Essex $603,750 $688,850 Cleveland
Massachusetts Middlesex $603,750 $688,850 Cleveland
Massachusetts Nantucket $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
Massachusetts Norfolk $603,750 $688,850 Cleveland
Massachusetts Plymouth $603,750 $688,850 Cleveland
Massachusetts Suffolk $603,750 $688,850 Cleveland
Mariana Islands Northern Island $524,400 $524,400 Honolulu
Mariana Islands Saipan $529,000 $529,000 Honolulu
Mariana Islands Tinian $532,450 $532,450 Honolulu
New Hampshire Rockingham $603,750 $688,850 Cleveland
New Hampshire Strafford $603,750 $688,850 Cleveland
New Jersey Bergen $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New Jersey Essex $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New Jersey Hudson $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New Jersey Hunterdon $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New Jersey Middlesex $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New Jersey Monmouth $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New Jersey Morris $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New Jersey Ocean $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New Jersey Passaic $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New Jersey Somerset $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New Jersey Sussex $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New Jersey Union $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New York Bronx $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New York Dutchess $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New York Kings $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New York Nassau $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New York New York $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New York Orange $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New York Putnam $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New York Queens $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New York Richmond $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New York Rockland $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New York Suffolk $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
New York Westchester $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
North Carolina Camden $625,500 $625,500 Atlanta
North Carolina Pasquotank $625,500 $625,500 Atlanta
North Carolina Perquimans $625,500 $625,500 Atlanta
Pennsylvania Pike $679,650 $726,525 Cleveland
Tennessee Cannon $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Cheatham $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Davidson $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Dickson $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Hickman $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Macon $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Maury $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Robertson $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Rutherford $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Smith $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Sumner $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Trousdale $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Williamson $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Tennessee Wilson $494,500 $534,750 Roanoke
Utah Salt Lake $600,300 $600,300 Denver
Utah Summit $679,650 $726,525 Denver
Utah Tooele $600,300 $600,300 Denver
Virgin Islands St. Croix $679,650 $726,525 St. Petersburg
Virgin Islands St. John $679,650 $726,525 St. Petersburg
Virgin Islands St. Thomas $679,650 $726,525 St. Petersburg
Virginia Alexandria City $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Amelia $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Arlington $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Caroline $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Charles City $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Chesterfield $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Clarke $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Colonial Heights $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Culpeper $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Cumberland $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Dinwiddie $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Fairfax $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Fairfax Independent City $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Falls Church $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Fauquier $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Fredericksburg $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Goochland $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Hanover $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Henrico $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Hopewell City $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia King and Queen $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia King William $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Loudoun $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Louisa $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Manassas $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Manassas Park $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia New Kent $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Petersburg City $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Powhatan $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Prince George $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Prince William $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Rappahannock $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Richmond Independent City $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Spotsylvania $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Stafford $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Virginia Sussex $535,900 $535,900 Roanoke
Virginia Warren $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Washington King $667,000 $726,525 Denver
Washington Pierce $667,000 $726,525 Denver
Washington Snohomish $667,000 $726,525 Denver
West Virginia Jefferson $679,650 $726,525 Roanoke
Wyoming Teton $679,650 $726,525 Denver