The limit in most U.S. counties is $484,350 for a single-family home, but many high-cost areas have a conforming loan limit of up to $679,650.
While interest rates are usually a bit higher for jumbo loans, they have actually been very competitive over the last two years, sometimes even lower than conforming loan rates.
To qualify for a jumbo mortgage, you will need to demonstrate good credit, a substantial down payment (often 20%+ down, but options are available for as little as 10.01% down), and high income.
Jumbo mortgages are subject to greater scrutiny than in the past. Under new mortgage laws enacted in 2014, all jumbo loans must qualify for Qualified Mortgage status, which protects lenders.
Both fixed-rate jumbo loans and adjustable-rate loans are available.
Properties that are located in counties with loan limits that exceed the base loan limit of $484,350 may be eligible for a High Balance/Super-Conforming loan. If this is true, the loan could be $484,351 up to $679,650 (the highest conforming loan limit), subject to the county's actual limit, per FHFA.
It is possible to avoid getting a jumbo mortgage by getting a first mortgage and second mortgage at the same time. If you choose to go this route, just make sure your combined rate is lower than the jumbo loan, and do not forget to consider closing costs for two loans.