The Federal Housing Administration, responding to rising home prices, said Friday that it will raise the maximum size of mortgages it will insure in San Diego, Ventura, Monterey and Napa counties, starting next year.
The most expensive areas of California, including much of the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles, Orange and Santa Barbara counties, already are at the FHA national loan limit ceiling of $625,500.
The FHA set the higher loan limits for a single-family home in the four counties as follows:
San Diego: $562,350, up from $546,250.
Ventura: $603,750, up from $598,000.
Monterey: $502,550, up from $483,000.
Napa: $615,250, up from $592,250.
Limits on FHA-insured loans for properties with two, three and four housing units are to be adjusted higher as well, as reflected in the FHA's list of 2015 limits for all areas between the agency's floor of $271,050 and the $625,500 maximum.
Because FHA loans have low down payments, they are a popular option for first-time buyers and people of modest means.
The FHA, which dramatically expanded its role after the subprime mortgage market collapsed, wound up borrowing $1.7 billion from the Treasury Department last year to cover potential losses on the low-down-payment loans it insured from 2007 through 2009.
It was the first taxpayer bailout of the 80-year-old agency, which was created during the Great Depression and is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federally chartered home finance companies that required much larger bailouts, also recently announced that limits of mortgages they guarantee will be increased in 2015 in the four counties.
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