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HUD, the agency overseeing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), has issued FHA loan limits for 2010. Knowing FHA loan limits can help you plan mortgage and refinancing needs.

HUD issues 2010 FHA Loan Limits

FHA has announced its maximum loan limits for 2010. FHA loan limits are established according to regional housing prices. This assures that FHA loans are widely available throughout the US. FHA loan limits are established by county, except as described below.

FHA Loan Limits for 2010: From Floor to Ceiling and Beyond

The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac national conforming loan limit remains at $417,000 for a one-family home. FHA guidelines allow for lower and higher loan limits according to regional housing markets.

Floor and Ceiling: Understanding FHA Loan Limits

Lower maximum loan limits for low-cost areas do not follow the same guidelines as other areas of the country, but are instead assigned at 65% of the conforming limit of $417,000. Referred to as "the floor," these minimum amounts represent the lowest maximum loan amounts available in low cost areas. So you may be able to buy a relatively expensive home in a low cost area using an FHA loan. Here they are according to the number of units contained within eligible 1-4 unit residential dwellings:

1 unit $271,050

2 unit 347,000

3 unit 419.000

4 unit 521,250

High cost ceilings have been assigned to the most expensive areas of the country an are as follows:

1 unit $729,750

2 unit 934,200

3 unit 1,129,250

4 unit 1,403,400

FHA offers even higher loan amounts in Alaska, Guam,Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands due to higher construction costs. HUD calls these loan limits "the roof," as they surpass the limits shown in the "ceiling" category:

1 unit $1,094,625

2 unit 1,401,300

3 unit 1,693,875

4 unit 2,105,100

FHA has more limits that fall between the ceiling and the floor; these are based on median home prices in the area. Find FHA loan limits for your area here or ask a loan officer.

If you're refinancing to a reverse mortgage, FHA insures these loans through its home equity conversion mortgage program (HECM). Reverse mortgage loans allow homeowners age 62 and above to draw on their home equity without making monthly mortgage payments. Reverse mortgages become due and payable when borrowers sell, die, or otherwise vacate the mortgaged residence. FHA HECM loan loans are available for a maximum of $625,000 depending on factors including home value, home equity, and homeowner age.

Karen Lawson
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with extensive experience in mortgage banking and home loan loss mitigation programs. She holds BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.