Important update for 2020: New federal legislation that took effect in January 2020 has cancelled the official VA loan limits set by the government. The content below has been preserved for archive purposes. Learn more here.
At a glance: 2020 VA loan limits vary by county and generally range from $510,400 to $765,600 (an increase from the 2019 amounts). They are based on median home prices and remain consistent for the entire year. Use the links provided below to view VA limits for all counties.
In November 2019, federal housing officials increased the loan limits for “conforming” mortgage products (i.e., those that can be sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). As a result, VA loan limits went up as well since they are statutorily linked to those conforming caps. These limits range from $510,400, in most U.S. counties, up to $765,600 in high-cost areas.
Note: The spreadsheet and PDF documents above show loan limits for properties ranging from one-unit to four-unit. That’s because the documents are also used for non-VA loans. For the purposes of determining the VA guaranty, lenders and borrowers should refer to the “One-Unit” column and ignore the other three columns.
The documents above were obtained from FHFA.gov. They apply to conventional as well as VA home loans in 2020. You can download these documents to your computer and refer to them as needed.
VA Loan Limits in 2020: Additional Commentary
For most of the country, the 2019 VA loan limit was increased $510,400 for 2020. This change was made in response to significant home-price increases that occurred during 2019. In certain higher-cost areas, such as San Francisco and New York City, VA loan limits can be as high as $765,600. Those are the “floor” and “ceiling” amounts for VA-guaranteed mortgage loans in 2020.
It’s important to realize that these caps vary by county, since the value of a house depends in part on its location. As a result, home buyers who are considering this program must determine the maximum loan amount for their specific counties. For your convenience, these county limits can be found in the two documents provided at the top of this page.
Borrowing Above These Amounts With a “Jumbo” Loan
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the “VA does not set a cap on how much you can borrow to finance your home. However, there are limits on the amount of liability VA can assume, which usually affects the amount of money an institution will lend you.”
It’s possible to borrow more than the 2020 loan limit for your county, if the lender determines that your income is sufficient. But you’ll probably have to make a down payment in that scenario.
As a general rule:
- VA borrowers who stay within the loan limits can qualify for 100% financing, which eliminates the need for a down payment.
- Borrowers who want to borrow above the limit usually have to make a down payment for 25% of the difference.
That’s usually how it works. But there may be exceptions to these general rules.
Not All Borrowers Will Qualify for the Maximum Amount
It’s also important to realize that the maximum VA mortgage amount is largely up to the lender that originates the loan. The VA does not lend money directly to borrowers. They simply guarantee a portion of the loan, so that the lender has some level of reimbursement if the borrower defaults (stops paying) down the road. So there is no guarantee that a borrower will qualify for the amounts shown above. It’s income-dependent.
Example: The 2020 VA loan limit for Los Angeles County is $765,600, which is higher than most other counties across the U.S. But there is no guarantee that a veteran or servicemember will qualify for this amount. For instance, if the borrower happens to be on the lower end of the military pay scale, he or she probably wouldn’t meet the income requirements needed for a home loan in the $700,000 – $800,000 price range.
Mortgage lenders use debt-to-income ratios and other measurement tools to determine how much they are willing to lend to a particular borrower. The numbers shown in the two documents above are merely the maximum amounts that can be guaranteed under the VA’s home loan program.
Disclaimer: The information above was adapted from official sources including, but not limited to, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. We make every effort to ensure accuracy when transcribing such information. But there is always a chance for human error. For the most accurate information available, refer to official sources. To verify the 2020 VA loan limits for your county, you can visit VA.gov and navigate to the “Home Loans” section.