The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced new loan limits for FHA-backed loans in 2007 for homes of one to four units.

Although the loan “ceiling” and “floor” remain unchanged from 2006, loan limits between the floor and ceiling have been adjusted to reflect changes in median home price by metropolitan statistical area.

The Federal Housing Administration will generally back loans up to 95 percent of the median house price for a given area. But the FHA mortgage “ceiling limit” can usually not exceed 87 percent of the Freddie Mac loan limit of $417,000, or $362,790 for a single-family home.

The FHA “floor limit” — the maximum loan amount in lower-cost areas — is 48 percent of the Freddie Mac loan limit, or $200,160 for a single-family home. In other words, the FHA will still back loans up to that amount, even if the adjusted median home price for the area is less.

In areas where 95 percent of the median house price is less than 48 percent of the Freddie Mac limit, the FHA floor limits are $200,160 for a single-family home, $256,248 for a two-unit home, $309,744 for three units, and $384,936 for a four-unit home.

Areas where the FHA limit exceeds the floor are known as a “high cost” areas. In areas where 95 percent of the median house price exceeds the 87 percent figure, the mortgage ceiling limits are set at the 87 percent amount, or $362,790 for a single-family home, $464,449 for a two-unit dwelling, $561,411 for a three-unit home, and $697,696 for a four-unit home.

For areas where 95 percent of the median home price for the area is in between the floor and the ceiling, the limit is set at 95 percent of the median housing price for the county.

A complete list of all 617 areas where FHA mortgage limits are above the floor is available as an Excel spreadsheet file. Or look up the loan limit for a specific area at this page on the HUD Web site: https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hicostlook.cfm

Mortgage limits for Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands may be adjusted up to 150 percent of the above ceilings, to account for higher costs of construction. These four areas have a potential higher ceiling of $544,185, $658,106, $799,568 and $922,578 for one-, two-, three- and four-unit-dwellings, respectively. Some of the limits for these areas have reached the full 150 percent ceiling, but several are between the normal FHA statutory ceiling and the higher 150 percent ceiling provided for in those areas. These areas and limits are identified in the spreadsheet file and on the HUD Web site.

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